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In the United Kingdom, the athleisure movement, which is the trend of wearing gym wear every day, has resulted in a spike in the selling of sportswear. The pattern started in 2015 and has progressed into 2017. Athleisure grew in popularity when it became fashionable to wear sportswear during the day. They became more popular when high-end items, such as the Ivy Park line, were produced. Since it provides beauty, elegance, and warmth, consumer demand in the United Kingdom has become more open to the current trend. Sportswear sales have increased by 9.5 percent from £5.9 billion in 2016 to six billion pounds this year (Bain 2017). Most notably, the increase has been in the sale of female sportswear. The sportswear sales have overtaken the sale of high heels among women. The trend is common among women aged between 35 and 44. In the last year nearly half of women in the UK have bought trainers.
The UK sportswear market has grown strongly as more people integrate sportswear into their daily wardrobes. The use of sportswear for sporting activities has changed to for everyday non-sporting activities. Previously the trend was limited to younger buyers. Over the next three years an increase of over 25 percent is expected in the sale of sportswear to reach £13.2 billion by 2021 (Ainara 2017). The men's footwear market has outgrown that of women since last year. Men emphasize on comfort over fashion and two in five men will prefer to buy sportswear. Most major sports brand such as Nike have shifted their main focus to women's sportswear. The potential in the female market is large and growing. Women have further been highlighted in sport by the victory of all women sports teams such as the England rugby team who were winners in the World cup. Women’s sports have become more appreciated than previous years.
Key players in the UK Sneaker/Sports Trainer market
C&J Clark Ltd has the highest market share in the sale of footwear in the UK. The company has focused on the online market for most of its sales. It focuses on children’s wear and rends led by fashion. It is a wholesaler and a retailer. More than 30 of its sales are in the UK market. It has managed to differentiate itself from newer and upcoming brands through the establishment of a niche. Clark has remained steadfast to maintain a stable brand position. Office Holdings has been in the industry since 1996 (Louise 2017). Its subsidiary Offspring sells sportswear. It offers designer women sportswear. Its other subsidiary the Office sells women, men and children sportswear as well.
Schuh Limited generates over 90 percent of its income from the United Kingdom market. Genesco purchased the company in 2011. The company stocks the latest trends and its sales have continued to increase. In 2016 through 2017, the company has undergone various challenges. The company offers discount sportswear, and its brand portfolio includes Dunlop, Karrimor, and Everlast. It has the second largest market share in the UK (Tong and Jin 180). JD Sports is the most significant seller of footwear in the United Kingdom market. It has actively benefited from the recent trends in sportswear, and its excellent links with Nike and Adidas has helped in strengthening its brand. It is also well placed in the market because of its innovations.
Next is popular among 35-45-year-old females and has continued to deliver value and has, in turn, continued to receive loyalty from its clientele. Primark focuses on providing value to its client. New Look uses social media to connect with its clientele. It has helped build the brand and increase the market share. It has continued to introduce premium products to its customers who have strengthened its position in the industry.
Factors Driving Demand and Supply
The UK sneaker market has grown tremendously, and women are the primary drivers. The advancement in apparel technology and the trend of sprucing up fashion with sport wear has also led to the growth of the market. By 2019, the sales of sportswear might rise to an estimated £8.65 billion (Davidson 2017). The growth originates from existing consumers who have taken up sports activities at least once a week. In recent years, women have more choice in sporting and fashion. There are more sports classes on offer. The millennial woman is more active and concerned about their fitness, and they hit the gym several times a week. Most firms in the industry have shifted their focus to marketing women footwear.
A collision between fashion and sports to manufacture ‘sports luxe' lines has led to an increased market. Sports dedicated brands such as Puma have decided to venture into fashion such as the collaboration between Puma and Rihanna to create the Fenty x Puma collection and Adidas and Kanye's Yeezy Season 1 range (Shona 2017). The sportswear market has evolved to highly rely on the fashion industry manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers alike. Another factor that has led to the demand for sportswear is the increase in disposable income which has led to more people buying trendy sportswear. Comfortable apparel helps in proper workout, and more people can afford to purchase them.
In recent years, consumers have become more conscious of their health and fitness because of the stress of everyday living and other lifestyle disorders. Further, there are increased gyms and fitness centers which demand a higher supply of sports apparel. More people have become involved in fitness activities than previous years (Ko 1575). The demand and supply of sports footwear have continued to increase. Further, significant manufacturers have spotted the opportunity in the market, and they have gone into collaborations with celebrities to strengthen their brand even further.
Key threats and key opportunities
In the sports footwear industry, there are some opportunities and threats. More people are embracing exercise and work out in the outdoor as well as the gym. Other possibilities are the collaboration between sports brands and celebrities which is a growing trend. Furthermore, technology offers more opportunity to improve on sportswear. Further technology will allow the manufacturing of more sophisticated sneakers. The craze about fitness has been the significant driver of the sneakers market. In the future people will still be exercising to keep fit and stay healthy. Hence, it is unlikely that the market will fall. Nonetheless, fashion always goes out of date, and most sports brand have decided to venture into the fashion industry which is very versatile and unpredictable.
Ainara Adriana Pazos Fernández, Susana de Bustos, and Susana de Bustos Ainara Adriana Pazos Fernández. "Sportswear Industry: Fashion For Fitness! - Máster Carlos III Madi." Máster En Dirección Internacional De Empresas, 2017, http://madi.uc3m.es/en/international-research-en/markets-and-industries-en/sportswear-industry/.
Bain, Marc. "Sportswear Is Carrying The Global Apparel Industry." Quartz, 2017, https://qz.com/889672/sportswear-is-carrying-the-global-apparel-industry/.
Davidson, Lauren. "Five Reasons The UK Is Going Crazy For Sportswear." Telegraph.Co.Uk, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11812263/Five-reasons-the-UK-is-going-crazy-for-sportswear.html.
Ko, Eunju, et al. "Global marketing segmentation usefulness in the sportswear industry." Journal of Business Research 65.11 (2012): 1565-1575.
Louise, Ramsay. "Increased Sales Of Female Apparel Is Driving Growth In The UK Sportswear Market | Trends And Features | Sports Insight." Sports Insight, 2017, http://www.sports-insight.co.uk/trends-features/increased-sales-of-female-apparel-is-driving-growth-in-the-uk-sportswear-ma.
Shona, Gosh. "Protein Princesses And 'Athleisure' - What's Driving The £6Bn UK Sports Market." Campaignlive.Co.Uk, 2017, https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/protein-princesses-athleisure-whats-driving-6bn-uk-sports-market/1360635.
Tong, Xiao, and Jin Su. "Exploring the personality of sportswear brands." Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal 4.2 (2014): 178-192.
"The "UK Premium" Lifestyle Clothing, Footwear, And Accessories Market." Pwc.Co.Uk, 2017, https://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/uk-premium-lifestyle-market.pdf.
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