And as social media channels increasingly become digitized street style hubs, consumers continue to flock to ath-leisure styles to boost their likes — and comfort. NPD’s latest research confirms such preferences. According to the firm’s report “The Future of Apparel,” the segment is poised to maintain its growth into 2019.
“I’m often asked if the ath-leisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no,” said Michael Cohen, chief industry adviser of retail at NPD Group. “When you have comfort and function combined with fashion it’s difficult to go back to anything else on a regular basis.”
NPD’s investigation discovered that year-on-year to June 2018, sweatshirt sales increased by double digits. Meanwhile, sales of active wear bottoms grew by five percent, a NPD spokesman said.
“The ath-leisure movement and influence on fashion continues to be a primary driver of growth opportunity for the apparel industry,” Cohen said. “Other apparel categories are declining, which tells us that consumers are getting just what they need and want in ath-leisure wear. There is no doubt that the category will continue to evolve but it’s definitely here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
What’s more, the spokesman suggested that the overarching casualization of office dress codes and the thriving wellness industry has bolstered the ongoing growth of the category. It’s also been normalized for consumers across demographics and age groups.
“Social shoppers, a consumer segment identified in the ‘Future of Apparel’ report who represent the largest portion of the population, are indicative of the ath-leisure consumer,” the spokesman explained. “They consider themselves to be social, fashion and image conscious, and activewear is a big part of their future purchase plans.”
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