Activewear remains a strong category for growth.

The global apparel and footwear industry in 2016 grew 3.8 percent to $1.7 trillion, representing the weakest growth period since 2008, according to Euromonitor.

That rate of growth compares to a 4.5 percent growth rate in 2015 to $1.6 trillion.

In Euromonitor’s latest report, it said the 3.8 percent rate in 2016 would have been weaker had it not been for sportswear, which recorded an increase of 7 percent for the third year in a row. The next highest category was children’s wear, at a growth rate of about 6 percent. The research showed that children’s wear benefited from a mixture of macroeconomic and social trends, outshining both men’s wear and women’s wear. Further, men’s wear grew by 4 percent in 2016, outpacing women’s wear for the second consecutive year.

Bernadette Kissane, apparel and footwear analyst at Euromonitor International, said, “Although performance sportswear takes the lead in terms of market size, valued at $78 billion in 2016, ‘sports-inspire’ is the category driving growth. Both sports-inspired footwear and apparel is growing at a rapid pace, registering 10 percent and 6 percent growth in 2016, respectively.”

Kissane said that in addition to growth in emerging markets such as India and Thailand, the U.S. is also producing “significant sports-inspired growth, despite its reputation as a performance-oriented market. It seems the chatter around the demise of ath-leisure remains just that.”

She noted that the continued strength in ath-leisure is helped by the “launch of activewear brands such as Ivy Park and Tory Burch.” Further, collaborations from Nike and Adidas with designers such as Riccardo Tisci, Olivier Rousteing and Stella McCartney are helping to provide a wider choice of options for a “consumer base that seeks to incorporate sport-styled designs into their everyday wardrobe.”

According to Kissane, “Apparel and footwear’s positive performance is expected to continue with a [compound annual growth rate] of 2 percent in constant value terms to 2021. She cautioned that the era of robust growth following the recession could be over given the current period of uncertainty from Brexit to a Trump president and China’s new normal — slower ­— growth, as well as consumer priorities shifting towards experience over consumption.

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