There is a very lively discussion these days about how active wear fashion is the new gold rush. Reports show a leap in the number of brands dedicated to women’s active wear, and let’s not forget major league cooperations like the new “Fenty” line by Rihanna for Puma, Adidas with Stella McCartney and many others. Aside from the bombastic figures, crunched numbers and colorful graphs, another story hides underneath it all, the fact that there is a power driving this economic growth spurt- the culture of female sport.
According to a recent survey, 78% of adults over the age of 18 exercise or participate in sports regularly (1-2 a week). Another fact the survey reveals is that the vast majority of active adults are women. For example, in group activities (like yoga, kickboxing etc.) they outnumber men 5:1.
In a study published by Running USA and the Millennial Running Study it was revealed that 73% of all regular runners are women. Yes, three quarters of the surveyed population. These women love what they do and are proud of it! 74% replied they consider themselves “fit” and 65% replied they run for the exercise, not to compete.
But this trend is not limited to adults. As published by Morgan Stanley, there is a 10% climb in the number of high-schoolers participating in sports over the past 30 years. Even more impressive is the fact that out of those athletic teenagers, the number of girl participants almost doubled (17% to 32%) over the same time period.
So why is it so important that women participate in sports more than their male peers? Precisely because they do. Considering the fact that women are the dominant demography, it is no surprise they have a major impact on the market as well. According to the NPD group, in 2014 and 2015 women’s active wear sales grew around 20%, double that of men at 10%. Since 2009, the sports segment registered the highest growth rate, average of double digits every year without fail. . A good example is the NY based LiveTheProcess, an active wear company producing solely for female customers. The brand reached about 1.5M$ in sales in 2103, the first year of activity. In 2015 sports gear and apparel were 25% of all apparel and foot wear market in the U.S alone
This trend, or phenomenon, has a very wide ripple effect. The Intimates market makes for a great example of how the yoga moms, followed by their wallets, are taking over. In such a dominantly female market sales are pretty much dedicated to women, and no one bats an eye when this or that segment shows a bump. However, it should be noted that since 2015 the fastest growing segment is sports bras. The growing demand from the consumer public dictates what the market looks like, and the market is going for a jog.
Take a moment and think about what that means; how entire industries emerged following this recent (in relative terms) cultural shift. It may be too soon to predict what might happen next in the field of female sports, but one thing is certain – the market will be the first to respond.