Over the past decade, yoga —an irrefutable process of total wellbeing—has gained noteworthy popularity globally. Yoga classes are filled to the gills with Millennials who’re opting for this form of fitness over hitting the gym for multiple reasons including lowered stress levels, while becoming body strong through stretching and relaxation.
At the beginning of 2019, global sportswear major Nike launched its new yoga collection. The collection featured both menswear and womenswear and included a mix of workout pants, tops underwear and sweatshirts. To coincide with this new development, Nike rolled out a new app, ‘Enhance Your Training with Yoga’, for its users which provided a selection of workouts to meet their yoga goals. Major Yoga wear players in the market include Lululemon Athletica, Under Armor, Manduka, Amer Sports, ASICS America Corporation, Columbia Sportswear, Hanesbrands, HuggerMugger, La Vie Boheme Yoga and YogaDirect among others.
According to a report by Technavio Research, in the past decade, yoga has gained significant popularity globally, especially in North America, as a form of fitness activity. The popularity of yoga is continuously increasing, especially in the US and Canada. People are opting for yoga and meditation due to multiple reasons, including stress relief, increased flexibility, general fitness, and overall health development. This increasing awareness has influenced the sales of yoga apparel, yoga equipment, and accessories worldwide.
Yoga apparel manufacturers are constantly evolving to achieve better customer satisfaction using technology and innovation to enhance their products. In fact, in the last decade and a half there have been several significant changes in the yoga clothing industry as regards the types of yoga clothing produced. Their efforts are bearing fruit, something which is indicative in the fact that the global yoga clothing market is expected to reach a market value of US $47.9 billion by 2025.
The global yoga clothing market is fragmented into men, women and kids, with the women’s segment accounting for the largest share in the global market owing to a rising number of women turning to yoga as a regular fitness option. Aside from this, yoga outfits are penetrating mainstream and athleisure clothing, further augmenting the segment’s overall growth.
Other factors which have led to the rise of the global Yoga wear market are rising health and fitness awareness, an increase in the number of yoga trainers and yoga training institutes, increased disposable income and a rise in the number of yoga clothing manufacturers.
Based on products, the global yoga clothing market is bifurcated into yoga shorts, yoga pants, yoga unitards, yoga tops and yoga capris. In 2017, yoga pants largely dominated the segment with a share of nearly 36.1 percent. These are available in various styles, including traditional boot-cuts and smoothed yoga pants aside from regular comfort wear. The key element of all yoga pants is high elasticity and flexibility. Their comfort level has made them popular as a mainstream clothing item aside.
Retailers are now working towards producing innovative, performance based yoga clothing through advanced technology in manufacturing in a bid to differentiate themselves from competition and enhance user satisfaction.
According to you, what is the growth of yoga wear category in the apparel segment in the past few years? What are the key differentiators with other sportswear apparel?
Yoga as an activity has seen tremendous growth in the last five years and consumers are now investing in yoga mats and specialised yoga apparel. The main difference between yoga wear and other sportswear is the material and fit. Yoga wear needs natural breathable fibres like cotton and the fit has to be comfortable and not tight. On the other hand, the regular sportswear market is flooded with tight fitting synthetic polyester clothes.
What are the key elements of yoga wear?
Yoga wear must be natural and breathable. The styling has to be comfortable and stretchable to enable flexibility to perform various yoga asanas.
What are the latest innovations in manufacturing yoga wear?
Yoga wear is actually about going back to basics and tradition rather than innovations. In fact, we have seen the best products tend to be pure organic cotton apparel.
Dievee is one of the very few sustainable brands in the space. We believe in fairtrade and we sell only organic cotton for our yoga range. Even in the accessories space, we offer hand-woven mats made of natural material which are really appreciated by serious yoga followers. I think sustainability and yoga go hand-in-hand and unsustainably produced yoga wear is a disservice to yoga itself.
What is the average size of the yoga wear market and how is it growing?
In my estimate the yoga wear market will be around Rs 300 crore today and is growing at 30 percent year-on-year. Going by the current consumer behaviour, yoga wear essentially is a Tier I market commodity and we see maximum contribution from these cities. However, we see growth potential in Tier II and III cities in the near future.
Having said this, online is the driver medium for this category as the space is niche and is primarily driven through social media channels. For us, over 70 percent of our revenue comes from online sales. We currently retail in over 15 countries, and our organic fair trade products are more accepted and loved globally than locally. This has all happened organically and not through a lot of effort from our end.
Why is the category dominated only by a few innovative brands and startups? Why are no corporate players focusing on this segment?
Large corporate players are not focussing on this space because of two reasons – firstly, the market is not that big yet and is still growing, slowly but gradually Secondly, the current yoga wear segment is a quality focussed market whereas most of the big players are in generic space offering mass quality with focus on quantity and distribution rather than niche fibres, organic and fairtrade produce.
What are the future prospects of yoga wear market?
I see this category becoming mainstream as more and more people take up yoga, sustainable living and start focusing on comfort rather than style.