Consumer desire for a multifunctional wardrobe set to drive the athleisure market, says GlobalData

In the last two years the athleisure trend has risen to a whole new level as the demand for comfort, performance and style drives the need of having a multifunctional wardrobe. 68% of consumers who purchased sport clothing for exercise also wore such items for eating out or shopping, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData forecasts that the global athleisure market will rise 9.0% in 2019 and will continue to outperform the total clothing and footwear market beyond the company’s 2023 forecast period. 

Honor Strachan, principle retail analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Over the next five years, the sportswear market will be one of the leading retail sectors. Activewear brands are selling consumers a lifestyle and fashion retailers are leveraging their style credentials to produce affordable fitness ranges to sell alongside core casual and formalwear collections.”

In the UK 20% of consumers purchased sports clothing specifically for leisure activities and free time, not to exercise in.

Strachan explains: “This willingness to pair sportswear with core wardrobe pieces has opened sportswear brands up to new audiences and allowed them to diversify into new product areas, boosting their share of the global clothing & footwear market.”

While fashion trends and influencers have driven the success of the athleisure market, the sustainability movement will continue to support the desire for a multifunctional wardrobe. Consumers are purchasing more consciously and reducing spend on fast fashion, playing into the hands of those retailers and brands that can showcase the versatility of their items, as well as the durability and quality.

Moreover, increasing consumer appetite for comfort has also fuelled sales of activewear and trainers with brands utilising their technical expertise in ensuring products offer freedom of movement, aid temperature and sweat control, shape the body and provide support. These qualities have filtered into consumers’ everyday wear and not just when they are at the gym.

Adoption of the athleisure trend in much of Asia has been slower, so international and national brands are leveraging social media, third party selling platforms and brand ambassadors to sell the appeal of having a sports and street influenced wardrobe.

Strachan concludes: “Chinese brand Li-Ning has exploited its credentials as a sports manufacturer to produce high fashion casualwear which can be worn for training or leisure, while Nike’s instore and online outfit styling provides inspiration on how to wear pieces for multiple uses encouraging consumers in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to incorporate sportswear into their everyday wardrobes.”