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The activewear sector is thriving in an otherwise soft apparel and footwear market. Although nearly three quarters of Americans are overweight or obese as of 2014, the onset of fitness trackers and other wearables is helping to positively influence change when it comes to health management. This should lead to higher levels of exercise, which in turn should propel the market forward."
- Diana Smith, Associate Director - Retail & Apparel

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Obesity worsens in an aging society
  • Are brands getting lost in an activewear abyss?
  • Market is saturating

Furthermore, athleisurewear has proven itself as a lifestyle choice among people of all ages rather than a trend, as evidenced by the overabundance of retailers and brands all vying for a piece of the market. There are so many in fact that the sector is reaching saturation, making it inevitable that not all players will last in the long run, and those athletic apparel companies that have been able to sell merchandise without discounting all the time may see price tolerance wane. Innovation within the activewear sector such as new fabrics and technical enhancements will keep some consumers’ interest alive, but may not appeal to the masses who opt for comfort, fit, and low prices.

This Report covers the US market for activewear including men’s and women’s sports apparel and sweat clothes. It examines types of clothing purchased, retailers shopped, and consumers’ attitudes and behaviors related to buying apparel in this category. The primary focus is on purchases made for oneself versus for others.

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Obesity worsens in an aging society
            • Figure 1: Percentage of adults 20 or older* who are overweight or obese, 1999-2002 and 2011-14
          • Are brands getting lost in an activewear abyss?
            • Figure 2: Correspondence analysis – Favorite brands, July 2016
          • Market is saturating
            • Figure 3: Reasons for buying activewear, July 2016
          • The opportunities
            • Focus on the most active: young affluents
              • Figure 4: Purchase incidence, by exercise frequency, July 2016
            • Understand the role of branding
              • Figure 5: Attitudes toward activewear brands, by custom groups, July 2016
            • Tie clothing back to an experience
              • Figure 6: Store preferences, by generation, July 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Population growth expected among key buyers
                • Apparel is down in a stable economy
                  • Obesity rates are going in the wrong direction
                    • A more health-conscious America?
                    • Market Factors

                      • Population growth expected among 25-44-year-olds
                        • Figure 7: Population by age, 2011-21
                      • Opportunity to grow penetration among multicultural segments
                        • Figure 8: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2011-21
                      • Economy stable; consumer confidence remains high
                        • Figure 9: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2007-August 2016*
                      • Apparel industry at large seeing softness
                        • Nearly three out of four Americans are overweight or obese
                          • Figure 10: Percentage of adults 20 or older* who are overweight or obese, 1999-2014
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Global and societal shifts boost the industry but is saturation imminent?
                        • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                          • So many brands
                            • Staying alive and relevant
                              • Sporting goods retailers stuck in the middle
                                • Activewear gets smarter and fancier
                                • What’s Working?

                                    • Nike a clear favorite; Lulu who?
                                      • Figure 11: Correspondence analysis – Favorite brands, July 2016
                                      • Figure 12: Favorite brands, July 2016
                                      • Figure 13: Percentage who are unaware of listed brands, by area, July 2016
                                    • Women becoming a targeting focal point
                                      • Figure 14: Favorite brands, by gender, July 2016
                                    • Fitness Junkies have their favorites too
                                      • Figure 15: Favorite brands, by custom segments, July 2016
                                    • Direct-to-consumer business models take over
                                      • Ethical and environmentally friendly practices don’t go out of style
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • Sporting goods stores face challenging times
                                            • Figure 16: Sporting goods stores shopped, by gender and age, July 2016
                                        • What’s Next?

                                          • Next iterations of activewear: more technical, more technological, and more upscale
                                            • Technical fabrics
                                              • “Smarter” clothing
                                                • Data driven shopping experiences
                                                  • Designer options
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Active people buy more activewear
                                                      • Exercise is not the top reason for purchase
                                                        • Enthusiasm level for fitness influences where people shop
                                                          • Comfort is king
                                                          • Behaviors and Attitudes toward Fitness

                                                              • Average (Rank: 3)
                                                                • Above average (Rank: 4-5)
                                                                  • Young men work out the most frequently
                                                                    • Figure 17: Exercise frequency, by demographics, July 2016
                                                                  • Walking is by far the most popular activity
                                                                    • Figure 18: Types of exercise, July 2016
                                                                    • Figure 19: Purchase incidence, by repertoire of number of fitness activities participated in regularly, July 2016
                                                                  • Young women most likely to agree new fitness wear is an inspiration
                                                                    • Clothes are motivating
                                                                      • Clothes do not play a role
                                                                      • Items Purchased

                                                                          • T-shirts and shoes top items purchased
                                                                            • Figure 20: Items purchased, by gender, July 2016
                                                                          • Involvement in activewear category correlated with exercise level
                                                                            • Figure 21: Items purchased, by exercise frequency, July 2016
                                                                            • Figure 22: Repertoire analysis of items purchased, July 2016
                                                                            • Figure 23: Repertoire analysis of items purchased, by repertoire analysis of exercise frequency, July 2016
                                                                        • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                            • Fitness Junkies (FJ)
                                                                              • Casually Active and Stylish (CAS)
                                                                                • Sitting Idle (SI)
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Consumer segmentation custom groups, by select demographics, July 2016
                                                                                  • Activewear reigns in Fitness Junkies’ closets
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Buying behavior: activewear versus other types of clothes, by custom groups, July 2016
                                                                                  • More
                                                                                    • Same
                                                                                    • Reasons for Buying

                                                                                        • Number one reason for buying activewear is not to work out in it
                                                                                          • Figure 26: Reasons for buying activewear, July 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 27: Top reasons for purchasing athletic footwear, July 2016
                                                                                        • Fitness clothing can be a motivator for beginning a new fitness regime
                                                                                          • Figure 28: Reasons for purchasing activewear, by reasons for exercising, July 2016
                                                                                      • Reasons for Not Buying

                                                                                          • “I don’t need anything” top reason for not buying activewear
                                                                                              • Figure 29: Reasons for not buying activewear, July 2016
                                                                                            • Cost is also a barrier
                                                                                              • Figure 30: Financial-related reasons not buying activewear, by age and household income, July 2016
                                                                                          • Retail Channels Shopped

                                                                                              • General merchandise stores favored over specialty
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Retail channels shopped, July 2016
                                                                                              • Fitness Junkies seek out specialized assistance
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Select retail channels shopped, by custom groups, July 2016
                                                                                              • Roughly one in five buy online; mobile has ample room to grow
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Select retail channels shopped, by method of shopping, July 2016
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Select retail channels shopped, by method of shopping by generations, July 2016
                                                                                              • Experiences over transactions
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Preference for shopping at stores offering experience, by select demos, July 2016
                                                                                              • In their words
                                                                                              • Important Attributes

                                                                                                  • Comfort is the most important attribute
                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Important attributes, July 2016
                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Associated topics in social conversations about activewear and comfort, September 2013-16
                                                                                                  • Are there enough plus size and big and tall options?
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Agree with comfort is an important attribute, by BMI, July 2016
                                                                                                  • Younger women seek fashion while older women seek comfort; men interested in brand names
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Select important attributes, by gender and age, July 2016
                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes toward modesty, by gender and age, July 2016
                                                                                                  • In their words
                                                                                                  • Attitudes toward Activewear

                                                                                                      • Brand name not a main driver
                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Attitudes toward activewear stores and brands, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                                      • Celebrity endorsers most appealing to young men
                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitudes toward celebrity or athlete endorsements, by gender and age, and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                                                                                      • From athleticwear to daywear
                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Attitudes toward occasion for wearing activewear, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                                    • Consumers’ Thoughts on Addressing Obesity

                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                • Terms
                                                                                                                  • BMI
                                                                                                                    • Custom groups
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2007-Q2 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-July 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-August 2016
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                                                      • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Barriers to regular exercise, July 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Detailed repertoire analysis of items purchased, July 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Repertoire of number of fitness activities participated in regularly, July 2016
                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Number of mentions of “comfort” or “comfortable” in social media, September 2013-16

                                                                                                                    About the report

                                                                                                                    This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                    • The Consumer

                                                                                                                      What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                    • The Competitors

                                                                                                                      Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                    • The Market

                                                                                                                      Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                    • The Innovations

                                                                                                                      New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                    • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                      Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                    • The Trends

                                                                                                                      What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                    Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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