The upswing of awareness about health trends and fitness is changing how consumers look at complementary health related items. For example, work out clothing. Shown below is an image of work out attire from the 1920’s. You can see how the industry has transformed over the years.
According to Diana Smith, Senior Research Analyst for Retail and Apparel at Mintel, “the fitness clothing industry is at a three-way intersection of fitness, leisure, and fashion. This is driving the hottest trend in the industry right now, known as “athleisure chic.”
According to the Mintel study, “growth in the fitness clothing market is driven by an overarching trend toward casualization as consumers are shifting expenditures from other categories into activewear.” This in effect is causing the existing market boundaries to blur as activewear for exercising blends into daywear for leisure and fashion purposes.
Not only is the trend of “athleisure chic” changing the clothing people wear on a day to day basis, but the growth of this market is also leading to diversification of the apparel worn during exercise. “These clothes are becoming more fashionable and available in more options across styles, colors, fabrics and fitness related-technology” (Mintel).
According to a Lifestyle Monitor article, 92% of consumers say they wear their activewear for purposes other than exercise.
This shows that similar to other areas of their lives (diet, beauty, etc.) consumers are demanding clothing options that are as versatile, reflective of their busy lifestyles, and customizable to portray individualistic style.
"They are increasingly investing in comfortable clothing that can be worn both inside and outside of the gym. The industry is literally being transformed by consumers’ changing lifestyles, shopping habits, wallet thresholds, and technological prowess” (Smith 2014).
Consumer choices are transforming the fitness wear industry.
Not only are higher end retailers, such as Victoria’s Secret, designing stand alone sports wear lines, but this trend is also trickling down to budget friendly retailers such as Forever 21.
High fashion designers like Alexander Wang demonstrates the athlesiure chic trend in the new line released with H&M this past month.
According to a Huffington Post article, “Leggings (and yoga pants from Lululemon) were ranked the most popular trend among female teens this spring, according to a study released by financial services firm Piper Jaffray. Nike was the No. 1 brand among teen boys. Jeans were nowhere to be found on the list, after years of consistently ranking as a top 10 trend.”
Fitness clothing marketers should continue to make attire that can used for more than one occasion, clothes that can be worn as leisure wear and/or athletic wear.
Multi-tasking clothing fits into themes about “convenience, efficiency, and saving time, that resonate with today’s busy consumers” (Mintel).
Fitness clothing marketers should also highlight the theme of comfort, which means different things to different people and different types of athletes.
According to Diana Smith, “While there are many brands competing in this territory, there is still an open opportunity to truly dominate the busy intersection where comfort, fitness, and fashion meet.”