We’re Swapping Denims for Leggings + Pilates Isn’t Cool Anymore

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As the wellness industry (now worth an estimated $3.4 trillion globally) steams ahead – the challenge now is to stay abreast of the key trends and for many of our readers, understand how they might affect strategic business decisions. 

IN HEADLINES THIS WEEK: 

The real distress for denim companies as activewear popularity soars!

Yoga pants are definitely trending with the rise of global athletic wear companies like Lululemon – who are celebrating the first store openings across Europe this month. Nike has repeatedly voiced its increased focus on women’s wear, and traditional sporting apparel brand New Balance has also announced a shift in focus on athleisure for women. Meanwhile, companies like Levi’s, who have failed to respond to consumer demands – according to a Bloomberg report – are suffering.

Comfortable and flattering at the same time, athletic pants last year sold in about equal numbers to jeans for the first time in the U.S., according to market researcher NPD Group, as revenue from women’s jeans fell 8 percent,” the Bloomberg article explains.

Levi’s sales are reportedly at $4.8 billion, but two decades ago the denim expert was bigger than Nike, with revenue exceeding $7 billion – evidence of a significant drop.

It’s the same story for J. Crew who, as Business Insider explain, “has been struggling, with sales declining in the double-digits from the previous year.” It’s good news for the athletic apparel industry as consumers leave the gym in activewear and turn up to the office in the same gear.

Both sources suggest that the huge drop in revenue for both J. Crew and Levi’s can be attributed to the rise in the athleisure segment and consumers demanding greater comfort, simplicity and stretch. But are either in a position to catch up, or has the athleisure train left the station with a plethora of sportswear brands already steaming ahead?

Reading:

Levi’s CEO admits the company is ‘scrambling’ (Business Insider)

How Nike is Killing J. Crew’s Business (Business Insider)

New Balance’s Fight to Win Over Women With Fashionable Workout Gear (Bloomberg)

Levi’s Tries to Adapt to the Yoga Pants Era (Bloomberg)

Despite the enormous growth in Boutique Fitness – Pilates may not be as cool as it used to be!

An article this week in New York Magazine reports on the slowing trend of traditional pilates with class numbers dropping in light of the surge in alternatives like spinning, barre and other fusions. The report explains that, according to research company IBISWorld, “the number of people doing Pilates declined about 2 percent per year every year between 2007 and 2011, dropping down to 8.5 million.”

It does highlight the astonishingly fast growth of boutique-fitness classes, particularly in the US with brands like SoulCycle and Pure Barre. Trends seem to be following the same path outside of the US as well. But Pilates in its traditional form hasn’t appeared to keep up.

Pure Barre has gone from having 100 studios in 2012 to more than 300 studios today. SoulCycle has tripled the number of rides its devotees have taken in the past three years, too, and is preparing for an initial public offering of stock. Yoga continues to grow in terms of participants, revenue, and studio count, with 20.4 million Americans partaking as of 2012,” the article explains.

If it’s going to survive, the question begs, can Pilates reinvent itself and pivot as has been achieved successfully in the Yoga-sphere and with many other fast growing boutique workouts. Or are we seeing a slow phasing out of 100s?

Reading:

The Pilatespocolypse: How the Method That Started the Boutique-Fitness Trend is Going Bust (New York Magazine)

How do these trends affect the wellness industry? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. 

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