The athleisure market in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is no longer just a western world phenomenon. It symbolizes the millennial cultural shift as more casual workplaces have diminished the strict formal dress codes at work and beyond. The athleisure market including all clothing and footwear expenditure in the APAC region is forecast to rise to 18.5 percent reaching US$ 193.3 bn market value by 2023, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s ‘Global: Clothing & Footwear – Athleisure, 2018-2023 Report’ reveals that in 2018, the athleisure market accounted for 14.3 percent of all clothing and footwear expenditure in the APAC region.
Hrishabh Kashyap, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The versatility and comfort of these clothing lines drives the mass market appeal for athleisure. Despite the current COVID-19 scenario and the majority of population staying indoors, working from home and exercising at home has helped increase the demand of clothing lines.”
To leverage this potential, leading international and local brands are shifting their focus to athleisure wear and the results have been fruitful. In 2019, Nike’s collaboration with South Korean rapper, G-Dragon, for its Air Force 1 range of sneakers sold out in just 0.06 seconds post launch in China, underpinning its popularity. Adidas and Nike lead in terms of international brands in the APAC region and have placed China as a specific market to target for organic growth opportunities.
Despite increasing levels of competition in China, domestic brands such as Li-Ning, Anta and Xtep had a strong 2019 following impressive 2018 performances. Other brands such as Erke, Qiaodan, Kbird and 360˚ are also expected to gain traction over the next five years. Following the success of these brands, various international and local fashion brands are investing in the athleisure market to extract more benefit out of this fast growing trend.
Kashyap continues: “Athleisure resonates with the millennial way of life. With shifting attitude towards health and fitness, and demand for multipurpose wardrobes, athleisure closes the gap between fashion and sports perfectly well. The tech savvy, ever online generation gets shopping inspiration from social media influencers and retailers have been proactive in using sports stars, pop stars and fitness influencers to advertise so that their followers take notice of the trend.”
All factors combined, the athleisure trend has made its way to heart and mind of customers and is too comfortable a trend to vanish quickly. However, societal changes affect the fashion industry and athleisure is no different. Brands must be careful and sensitive towards addressing key societal changes into retail.
Kashyap concludes: “Trends such as sustainability and eco awareness will shape the future. More gender sensitization, female empowerment, sense of inclusivity irrespective of color, race, religion, body type will play an important role as awareness related to these issues grow. Technology will have its own role in shaping the market — smart fabrics and alternative categories such as athleisure personal care products etc. create opportunities for retailers to catch customers’ attention.”