LONDON — Euromonitor International, the global market research company, said the rise in worldwide wealth will support luxury lifestyle and wellness trends going forward and that when it comes to retail, offering the customer experiences is key.
“The more global wealth grows, the more people will look for experiences,” said Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods, during a briefing at Euromonitor’s East London headquarters on Thursday. “It’s very much about status as they want to show that they care about their bodies and self-preservation, which is why more people are health conscious about what they do, eat and wear.”
The global activewear business will reach $61 billion by 2021, while the luxury ath-leisure market is well-established, and the sector will transition into functional wardrobe items. Apparel and footwear analyst Bernadette Kissane said ath-leisure will continue to evolve into a more sophisticated trend, impacting multiple industries.
“Boundaries between fashion and sportswear [activewear] will also continue to blur as consumers’ demands and expectations of clothing and footwear have been altered,” Kissane said. “We’re seeing the language that retailers are using, words like ‘active fashion’ or ‘high-performance style,'” Kissane said.
“You might not know it’s ath-leisure, but it’s still got technical sportswear performance capabilities so this movement we’re seeing is likely to benefit tech when you consider how much functionality is becoming important to consumers. Smart clothing is kind of stepping up to the mark and trying to address a lot of these problems.”
Kissane said that over the next five years, performance activewear is expected to grow by almost $30 billion. “The reason for this is consumers obviously demand functionality,” Kissane said. “The category itself has become far more fashion oriented so consumers are able to buy a product that is stylish enough to wear on the weekends to go out to brunch with friends but also performs well so the value for money significantly increased when it comes to performance wear. We also have to remember that ath-leisure is grounded in health and wellness so fitness is becoming a status symbol.”
Kissane also noted that emerging markets such as India, Thailand, China and Vietnam have enjoyed growth in sports-inspired performance wear, while in the U.S. it remains relevant. “In the next five years, the U.S. is expected to contribute 34 percent of the total growth so that kind of puts into perspective how big this market is.”
According to Euromonitor data, activewear is being worn everyday and is increasingly shifting from a trend to a lifestyle as wearers seek style and comfort. The data also reflects the increase in luxury brands starting capsule activewear ranges, the influx of brands partnering with sports labels, as well as luxury sportswear retailers and department stores mounting devoted spaces for luxury ath-leisure, wellness and branded pop-ups.
Euromonitor said the growth in ath-leisure is not only influencing the luxury goods industry, but denim as well. The firm pointed to yoga and casualwear such as jogging pants and leggings as “must-have” items that attract consumers globally. In addition, there was an upswing in 2016 of innovative textures used in denim.
“The global jeans market has seen a slow growth over the last few years, which began in 2014 with only 2.7 percent growth in comparison to sportswear, which peaked at 7 percent in the same year,” said Magdalena Kondej, head of apparel and footwear. “To fight back, the jeans industry is now looking at ways of turning the ath-leisure trend into its own opportunity, as brands are designing denim for men and women with new stretch fibers and fabrics with more effective sweat management, which will make them feel much more like jogging bottoms and hoodies.”