Growing consumer interest in sports-inspired or athleisure clothing is driving the growth of the global apparel and footwear sectors.
Robust demand for sportswear is fueling the growth of the global apparel and footwear market, which is now worth $1.7 trillion, according to the latest figures from UK-based business intelligence firm Euromonitor International.
Although the number represents a just 4 percent rise from 2015 and the weakest since the global economic downturn in 2008, analysts believe that growth would have been significantly smaller if it were not for the strong performance of the sportswear market, which posted a 7 percent jump for the third straight year.
But Bernadette Kissane, apparel and footwear analyst at Euromonitor, noted that credited should not be attributed solely to pure activewear as booming demand for "sports-inspired" or athleisure clothing is the major factor in the ascent. "Although performance sportswear takes the lead in terms of market size, valued at $78 billion in 2016, (athleisure) is the category driving growth. Both sports-inspired footwear and apparel is growing at a rapid pace, registering 10 and 6 percent growth in 2016, respectively,” she said.
Growing interest in athleisure clothing is currently being witnessed not only in core markets such as the US and Western Europe but in emerging locations as well, including India and Thailand.
Kissane also dismissed the notion that athleisure clothing has reached its peak. “It seems the chatter around the demise of athleisure remains just that. Evolving from a trend that brands have dabbled in with capsule collections into a fully-fledged business opportunity, the continued strength of athleisure is highlighted by the launch of activewear brands such as Ivy Park and Tory Burch.” she indicated.
"Furthermore, sportswear behemoths Nike and adidas continue to flex their fashion credentials by collaborating with designers such as Riccardo Tisci, Olivier Rousteing and Stella McCartney. With a wider selection and greater availability, sports-inspired products are gaining in popularity among a consumer base that seeks to incorporate sport-styled designs into their everyday wardrobe," Kissane added.
Euromonitor foresees the global apparel and footwear sectors to post a GAGR of 2 percent until 2021. The company, however, predicts that the period of robust growth following the last recession could be over, with the Brexit, Trump presidency and China's economic downturn, combined with an increasingly crowded market and shifting consumer priorities, dampening future growth potential.