Demand is growing for sports clothing that is durable and comfortable
For a home workout, jog in the park or Zumba in a dance studio, you need activewear for comfort and style. The clothes are stretchable, dry quickly and the fabric won’t make you sweat.
Activewear clothes suit any exercise, like swimming, running, jogging, or working out in a gymnasium. “Comfort was always the prime reason for the increase in consumption of this category. Comfort is heightened by coordinates in fashion colors, boxy silhouettes, and more loose fit bottom wear. Versatility and fashion are the key reasons for this segment becoming stronger,” said Devarajan Iyer, executive director and chief executive officer of Lifestyle, a fashion retailer.
As fitness culture spreads nationwide, it is driving demand for sports apparel that is durable and comfortable. Retailers say activewear sales are up as consumers make fitness part of their everyday routines. “Consumers are looking for new trends in this segment rather than just performance features. Fashionable activewear is in high demand since it is adaptable, functional, stylish, and can be worn for several events. Key firms in the market have taken advantage of this growing emphasis on style by introducing novel, technologically sophisticated goods,” said Iyer.
TechSci Research, a market research company, said in a study the Indian sports apparel market was valued at $498.68 million in FY20 and it is expected to grow some 16 per cent between 2022 and 2026.
A key part of the activewear business serves women balancing career and family. “Activewear not only provides comfort but also provides freedom in movement. I do a lot of fitness activities throughout the week and this includes yoga, meditation, dance, aerobics, workout, karate.
The activewear helps to increase performance and the fabric of my clothes keep me cool, dry, energetic and flexible,” said Sarla Gupta, a Noida resident and the mother of two teenagers.
“The most important thing (for fitness exercises) is to shop for appropriate workout clothes. I have seen many guys wearing denim shorts at the gym–a guy used to wear boxer shorts! Likewise some girls wear normal bras when they must only wear a perfectly fitting sports bra,” said Satender Singh, a personal fitness trainer in Gurgaon.
India’s sports apparel market is segmented based on product type, user, distribution channel, region and company. Based on product type, the market is further split into t-shirts, sweatshirts, sports vests, track pants, tights, swimsuits, hoodies, and sports bras.
Some top players in the India sports apparel market include Under Armour India, ASICS India, Fila, Adidas India, Nike India, Decathlon India and others.
Bestseller products in activewear for men in India are shorts, joggers/track pants and quick-dry t-shirts. For women, bestseller products are tights, sports bras, quick dry t-shirts and tank tops.
Take the case of ASICS. The average price point for overall categories ranges between Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,500 depending on the season and launches.
ASICS’ activewear segment includes several categories that cater to various sports and activities, including running such as running apparel and footwear like Nimbus and Kayano range and training, a category that includes activewear designed for training and gym workouts, such as compression leggings, sports bras, training shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, and shoes. Besides CPS is a category designed specifically for tennis, such as tennis skirts, dresses, shorts, tops, jackets, and shoes. Cricket category includes activewear designed specifically for cricket, such as cricket whites, cricket jerseys, cricket pants, cricket shorts, and cricket shoes.
According to Saurabh Sharma, Head of Marketing ASICS India, “We have a focus on sustainability, and one of the key trends in their products is the use of eco-friendly materials such as recycled polyester, organic cotton, and plant-based fibers. In terms of colors, ASICS has a range of color palettes for different collections, but some of the popular colors that have been seen in their recent collections include earthy tones such as olive green, navy blue, burgundy, and gray, along with bold colors like bright orange, electric blue, and neon green. In terms of style, ASICS offers a range of options, from classic designs to more modern and trendy pieces. Some of the popular styles include seamless knit designs, retro-inspired silhouettes, and minimalist styles.”
“Commonly used fabrics in this category of clothing (activewear) is (sic) polyester elastane with different compositions. The properties of sportswear are resilience, absorptiveness, air permeability, lightweight, stress and strain, easy care, strength, durability, tailorability and formability,” said Prem Kumar S, business head, sportswear, Cult.sport.
“Consumers are choosing this category based on their lifestyle. The main factors remain comfort, versatility, and the level of fashion one can carry. Functionality is also key and gives the consumer a reason for investment pieces that can hold longevity,” said Lifestyle’s Iyer as he shared tips for choosing activewear- “Bright colors and vibrant prints have become a must have in this category now. After all, how many black tees and track pants can you have,” he says.
Kumar, the Cult.sport executive, said: “Activewear clothes must have quick drying ability, breathability, balance body heat by moving away moisture and ventilating body’s critical heat areas, not charging electrostatically, have high strength and abrasion resistance. They should not be limiting body movements, be soft and durable and stitches not cause discomfort. Have an aesthetic appearance and improve mental motivation.”
|Price range (in Rs)
|Includes features like zipper pocket at back, waistband, regular waist and ankle-length, quick dry
|Collection of colourful, insta-dry, super-soft leggings to complement your moves
|Reebok, Sweaty Betty, Nike
|Form-fitted clothes are the most preferable clothing. They are required to be free from metal or plastic adornments
|Comes with the features like breathable, stretchable, flexible
|Products offered are zipp free, made with fall safe padding
|The product mainly comes with clothing of micro polyester wings knit and knitted collar
|The clothing is mainly made with synthetic fibre, loose fitting in nature
|Some brands also offer padded shorts to help in reducing the road shock
|Lightweight, fitted, sweat and odour free
|Product made of micro polyester, superior colour fastness, cut & sew, V neck line, regular fit
|Pockets for ball storage