Americans like to buy exercise clothes, so much so The Wall Street Journal cites a report from Barclays estimating the athletic apparel market will grow nearly 50 percent to more than $100 billion by 2020.
If you think this means we’re exercising more, you’re wrong. The paper also reports that, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, participation in individual, racket, team, outdoor, fitness and water sports is either stagnant or down.
So what’s going on? The apparel industry has labeled this phenomenon “athleisure,” which The Journal calls a “bright spot in a sluggish business.” Many consumers cite the comfort factor as the reason for buying these clothes.
Take yoga, for example. The WSJ reports yoga participation grew 4.5 percent last year, but yoga apparel revenues were up a whopping 45 percent.
The newspaper also notes the major sporting goods retailers are adding athleisure clothing inventory to their stores, and even clothing stores are stocking up.
If you sell clothes or sporting goods, you obviously should take note of this shift. But there are also quite a few entrepreneurs designing, manufacturing and distributing athleisure clothing who are reaping the rewards. Under Armour, which was founded by then-23-year-old Kevin Plank (who’s now the CEO and Chairman of the Board) in 1995, is expected to reach sales of nearly $3 billion this year. And there are plenty of newer entrepreneurs like Kristine Deer, whose line of brightly printed yogawear, K.Deer Haute Yoga Wear, is attracting a ton of attention.
Photo Courtesy: K.Deer Haute Yoga Wear
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.