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Athleisure set to outpace total clothing market

The UK sports clothing market is expected to climb 8% to £2.5bn this year, as the athleisure trend continues to grow.

This offsets forecasted growth of 2.1% for the total UK clothing market, according to retail consulting firm GlobalData.

GlobalData said customer demand following “high profile attention via Instagram influencers” has driven fashion retailer investment in sportswear.

It added that Asos’ own-label sportswear launch, earmarked for November, will further boost activewear spend per head.

Fiona Paton, retail analyst at GlobalData, said the activewear customer base has grown “larger and more varied” on the back of government initiatives such as investment in improving cycle routes, as well as increasing influence from high-profile fitness bloggers.

“As fashion retailers such as New Look, Primark and Asos invest in affordable, trend-led own brand sportswear ranges, female shoppers have access to more choice, will spend more on impulse and will purchase athleisure pieces in replacement of core casualwear items.

Paton added:”GlobalData believes non-sports specialists can lean on their fashion credentials and skills in interpreting seasonal trends quickly to ensure regular newness and that collections remain relevant, thereby forcing sports players such as Sports Direct to up their fashion game.”

She added that it is now crucial for premium brands to find ways to increase their destination appeal, such as working with high-profile celebrities or fitness and sports personalities and enhancing social engagement.

Sweaty Betty, Nike and Lululemon were cited as “strong examples” of brands engaging with their customers through free gym classes, VIP discounts and yoga and running clubs.

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