The athleisure frenzy has been a boon to the apparel industry, but recent data suggest that an oversaturated market is causing the industry to lose its sheen. Now, brands are taking notes from the runway to keep their activewear strategy fresh and inspiring.
The athleisure revolution changed the face of everyday apparel from jeans to stretch leggings and yoga pants. Activewear sales increased by 16% in 2015, far outpacing the overall apparel market, which rose 2% in the same time, according to the NPD Group.
Now, however, athleisure fever may be wearing off. Several athletic brands including Sports Authority have filed for bankruptcy in 2016, while share prices for even industry heavyweights like Under Armour and Lululemon have slumped. This week, Bloomberg reported that unit growth sales remained nearly unchanged for the first quarter of 2016, following declining growth through 2015 from a high of nearly 70%.
Athleisure’s popularity may be key to its downfall. Following the meteoric success of brands like Lululemon, a staggering number of stores and celebrities, from H&M to Beyoncé, entered the market. Brands are now struggling to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace, even as low-cost retailers like Walmart and Target entered the market and drive down prices.