At One’s Leisure – Growing Popularity of Athleisure

Athleisure is fabricated clothing that is designed for athletic activities such as yoga, gym, mountain climbing and cycling among other activities but currently, it is also being adapted as casual wear by people to wear to the office. Athleisure wear meets the standard of fitness and comfort. School, colleges, and other social occasions. The authorities of the workplace and school have given green light to this. Due to the adoption of athleisure wear as the casual wear, there has been a surge in the athleisure market and manufacturers are taking this opportunity to develop more merchandise with more features such as durability, flexibility and innovative designs which a consumer or a sportsperson would expect from the athleisure product. 

athleisure market

Sandeep Kataria, CEO of Bata Shoe Organisation stated in the interview with mint: We have actually started testing some of our training and fitness apparel under the Power brand. We see that as a trend which was, to some extent, happening pre-pandemic but has clearly accelerated. People are more fitness conscious. So, we are testing that and we are able to leverage some of the learnings that we have from our outdoor brand in Latin America. We do have some accessories in the Bubble Gummer brand as well. We will start testing that out in the markets.

Market Size of the Athleisure Market

Athleisure market has expanded in the last few years. Some of the key factors are that there is rise in the awareness of health and fitness, to keep up with the trend many are joining the fitness centers which are not only consist of gym as there has been the introduction of advanced fitness activities such as Zumba, yoga and aerobics. The members of the fitness centers now also consist of women and younger generations to keep up with the personal grooming trends.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many fitness centers have also started online training sessions or have developed apps that can be used during the pandemic to keep fit and to maintain a no-contact rule.

In urban culture, besides the adoption of a healthy lifestyle after the awareness of the importance of health and exercise, people are also adopting the athleisure wear as their casual wear. The comfort and trendy wear of the athleisure wear have caught the eyes of the consumers who have started accepting it as their casual wear. The manufactures are keeping up with this trend and also taking the advantage of this trend to capture the market and further expand their market share by introducing innovative and latest style with new features which match or even rise above the customer's expectations. With these factors, it is predicted that there will be a further surge in demand in the athleisure market in the forecasted period.

Currently, the athleisure wear is not only fulfilling comfort and the purpose for sports activities but also are innovating designs and features. There is also surge in the demand and reason is predicted due to the rising availability of cheap and highly advanced physical fitness services such as gyms, aerobics among others and there is a growth in the investments by the gym chains in various developing economies.

Market Growth of Athleisure Market

Athleisure market growth is expected to expand during the forecasted period and beyond due to the shift in the purpose of the athleisure wear from sportswear or activewear to the casual wear. In the urban culture there is a rise in the adoption of the athleisure wear for both physical activity and casual wear.

More investors are getting involved in the sports industry and are investing in the sports industry. Even, the government are trying to motivate and uplift the sports industry with the budget set aside for it. For instance. In fact, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics total out of the Chinese sports industry was around $295 billion in 2016 which is nearly 11.1 percent growth and in 2017 it reached around $326.3 billion. In India, the government has set the budget to encourage the sports industry with the Play India Program This investment by both investors and the government are not only motivating the sports activities but are also encouraging participation. The participation by the athletes has been increased compared to the past years, the reason for this is that various sports activities are being recognized and the women are also being recognized in the sports industry. There is also an increase in sports events around the globe.

With the rise in investment in the sports industry, there is a booming of the industry. The athletes are looking for athleisure wear that are made specific to their sports and are also comfortable with the fabric that can be acceptable in that environment. Athleisure wear is considered as the movement that is allowing sportswear to be more versatile, comfortable and durable.  Manufacturers have increased their investment in research and development to manufacturing products that are more specific and acceptable by them. They are using various textiles and are also adding the styles.  For instance, Puma’s latest apparel collection, “Excellent Golf Wear,” offers a seamless blend of golf and street-wear styles that are composed of performance fabrics but presented in approachable, athleisure-style silhouettes.

The commercials have also started featuring the athletes that also gives a subtle message that they are up to the activewear standard. This is expanding the market growth of the athleisure market.

Celebrities are the source of the new trends. They have started the trends of the exercise and of athleisure wear as their casual wear as “#athleisure’. Some have also launched their own brand with personalization that are based on the celebrity. They even use their social media platform to spread awareness and popularise their brand. This not only increases the trend following by the consumers thus, increasing the demand of athleisure products but also leads to rising in the trust in the online channel of distribution.

However, many are still unsure of the online sites or the quality of the products due to the lack of personal touch. They prefer choosing the offline markets for their shopping as they even provide the shopping experience.

During a pandemic, many were accepting athleisure wear as their casual wear. Athleisure brands were also working rigorously to promote and innovate the products. Pair of sweatpants were recognized the stay-at-home wear.

Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has observed a major transformation in recent years, especially during the pandemic. With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the consumer and their purchasing behavior, this has led to emerging of new fashion trends. The majority of the population had started demanding comfortable wear as they are replacing their athleisure wear instead of their formal wear.

N. Mohan, MD of British shoemaker Clarks India in the interview with The Hindu stated that – The pandemic led us to revisit our plans and pivot our strategy around three key areas — product, selling environment and communications. Growing ‘remote-working’ led us to retrieve more athleisure products from our archives, which would provide comfort while being fashionable. These products would suit western and traditional outfits, providing flexibility to our consumers.

In recent years, consumers are following up with the athleisure wear trend. They have started wearing as the airport look, casual wear or workplace wear.  If formal wear will be back in demand is difficult to predict as the consumers are still demanding comfort wear. The manufactures are also keeping up with the trend and are introducing products that are of variety of designs that not only meet the standards of the consumers but are also of the value of the money.

Currently, the customers are also expecting the styles along with the features of the athleisure, the manufactures are keeping up with the expectations and are trying to achieve both the functionality and the latest styles of athleisure wear.