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Activewear Is Not Just For Athletes Anymore

Feb 5, 2014
Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor ;
Apparel , Sports
@marshalcohen

Have you noticed just how many people are walking the streets or shopping the stores in sweat pants?  How about the number of people wearing yoga pants (by day and by night) to the gym, in the gym, and after the gym? These pants are now perfectly acceptable by most standards.  Consumers have inspired their own fashion trend, and many manufacturers and retailers are just now catching up.  Activewear has been around for a long time, but not since the 90s-inspired Juicy Couture Warmup suits have we seen so much attention to the activewear market.  Activewear is up 9% for the 12 months ending December 2013, compared to the total apparel market, which is only up 2% over the same time period.

This consumer driven trend is beginning to be offered in stores as the seasonal change of merchandise is happening in stores now.  Most of this growth has come from the athletic market, as well as a few tried-and-true active brands.  Activewear makes up 16% of the total apparel market, a trend that will likely change as we see more men and women shift to this truly casual style.  Consumers tell me they love the feel of being able to wear such comfortable clothes without the need to “fuss” over what to wear.  Whether consumers are running errands or meeting friends, it is now all about doing it in casual style.  Even pajama pants are getting into the act, which demonstrates the continued migration towards casual wear.

Activewear is doing well across the range of categories, too: tops and bottoms are both up 6%, outerwear is up 17%, intimates are up 14%, and even socks are up 11%.

Consumers are loving activewear and the active lifestyle. In fact, when asked about their 2014 New Year’s resolution, consumers placed health and fitness as their number one resolution. This marks the first time in over a decade that NPD has been tracking resolutions that consumers didn’t rank diet/food as their top resolution. Regardless of how many of us actually stick to our resolutions and live active lifestyles, most will continue to stick to activewear clothing well into 2014.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service, 12 months ending December 2013, dollar sales



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