Why Athleisure Will Now Feature In Every Brand’s Catalogue4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Lululemon’s acquisition of Mirror for $500 million offers insight into radically changing consumer behaviour and new retail trends in 2020 and beyond. A modern narrative of omni-channel retail, this unique partnership displays how athleisure and activewear has thrived in the past couple of months.
In the middle of the pandemic, the shortage of kettle-bells made headlines, such was the demand. Every lay person felt the need to invest in products to aid their fitness journey. It was no surprise when Lululemon’s share price reached an all-time high in June!
Surge in Home Workout Apps’ Downloads
The worldwide Google search trend report revealed that interest in search terms such as ‘home gym,’ ‘home workout’ and ‘home fitness’ is steadily rising. Interest in exercise gear also shot up by 500%, which explains the gym equipment shortage reported across the world. This interest has translated into actual workout app downloads if we look at the figures.
Peloton’s work-out-at-home app recorded a 245% spike in installs, fuelled by the 90-day free trial on offer. More than 1 million people signed up for this trial between mid-March and the end of April.
The daily global downloads of other workout apps such as Nike Training Club, Map My Run by Under Armour, and Samsung Health has surged as well. Strava shared that its app usage has more than tripled after a nationwide lockdown was announced in the US.
Mirror, the two-year-old start-up, on the other hand, has replaced personal gyms and fitness studios by offering the boutique studio experience at home. Its strength lies in personalization through technology – from personalized programs to text-based tips and shoutouts!
The addictive nature of these apps is drawing people’s attention. Like Netflix, modern workout apps are home to streamable, interactive videos neatly listed under different categories. Users can customize their experience according to the difficulty levels, fitness goals and personal style.
Technology Reshaping Athleisure
Technology is the spine of the fitness and wellness industry’s transformation. When physical gyms and sports events shut down for an indefinite period, fitness businesses and fashion brands relied on their digital infrastructure to stay relevant. The success of early adopters like Mirror, that sealed a $500 million deal when money was so tight, wouldn’t have been possible without the power of AI and data.
With fresh evidence emerging of airborne transmission of COVID-19, especially in closed air-conditioned spaces like gyms, the fitness industry – gear, apps, clothes – will continue to thrive in the digital space.
The role of technology isn’t restricted to chalking out work-out programs and tracking progress for customers. From demand forecasting to smart wearables, technology and activewear clothing seem inseparable. The popularity of home work-out apps, online content and fitness equipment has further fuelled the activewear market.
Things Look Up For Athleisure and Activewear
The sports apparel market is expected to cross $200 billion in 2020.
Demand for activewear climbed up by 141% in May in the UK, exceeding the demand for loungewear since the lockdown. As shelter-in-place restrictions eased up in various parts of the world, demand for outdoor exercise clothes shot up. Online searches for running shorts increased by 159% and for cycling shorts by 147%.
The UK also registered a 64% jump in YoY activewear sellout rates in 2020, followed by China with 55% and Australia with 47% YoY difference. Annual sales of smart clothing is expected to touch $11 billion in 2025, Juniper research predicts.
Fresh food delivery service, Gymology, launched a fitness clothing line and, Target debuted it’s ‘All in Motion’ activewear brand early this year.