NEW YORK, United States — A new report released by global research company The NPD Group reveals that 24 percent of total apparel sales in the US are now made in the athleisure segment.
According to the Future of Apparel study, this figure is forecast to grow throughout 2019 as yoga pants, sweatpants, hoodies and other activewear garments continue to cement themselves as fashion staples that are acceptable both in and out of the gym.
The apparel segment, which is increasingly being viewed as more of an evolution than a trend, has taken hold gradually as societal norms have changed, suggests the report. It cites the acceptance of casual dress in offices, raised health and fitness consciousness, and the want for comfort and versatility as being the major drivers of the category.
“I’m often asked if the athleisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no,” commented Marshal Cohen, NPD’s Chief Industry Advisor-Retail. “When you have comfort and function combined with fashion it’s difficult to go back to anything else on a regular basis,” he added.
Noting athleisure’s staying power, the report also suggests that its phenomenal growth can be linked to the fact it has mainstreamed across a range of ages and demographics. Highlighting social shoppers –– a consumer segment who represent the largest portion of the population –– as being indicative of the athleisure consumer, the NPD Group argues that activewear will play a big part of their future purchase plans.
“Categories like active apparel bottoms, undershirts, and swimwear – which indicate the consumer’s concentration on comfort, the staples, and niche products – are the few sources of consistent, long-term growth in today’s apparel market,” added Cohen.
“Retail is changing, the consumer is changing, and every industry must understand where spending habits have moved, and adapt to the shifting market dynamics that are impacting their business.”
Data taken from the study shows that in the 12 months ending June 2018, sales of sweatshirts increased by double-digits and active bottoms by five percent. This, according to The NPD Group is expected to rise in 2019, with strong performances also predicted across various other activewear categories.
“The athleisure movement and influence on fashion continues to be a primary driver of growth opportunity for the apparel industry,” commented Cohen.
“Other apparel categories are declining, which tells us that consumers are getting just what they need and want in athleisure wear. There is no doubt that the category will continue to evolve but it’s definitely here to stay for the foreseeable future,” he concluded.