Global Sports Clothing & Accessories Industry
The world sports apparel industry is expected to exceed $126 billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. The market is driven by a trend toward healthier, more active lifestyles, with older demographics and women becoming more active.
The global sports and fitness clothing industry is highly fragmented, with many brands competing, from basic discount brands to high-end fashion names. Even well-established brands have to work hard to maintain their share of the market. Consumers are demanding more versatile wear with wider functionality, which means retailers continue producing new styles of sports apparel for men and women.
Some sports apparel companies are joining up with fashion designers to produce new clothing styles and widen their product lines. Consumption will continue to be driven by a trend toward less formal dress in the workplace and demand from specific demographics such as teenagers and baby boomers.
Challenges faced by sports apparel companies include constantly changing fashion trends, tough competition and more price-conscious shoppers. Business activity in the sector can be fragmented with companies setting up factories in different countries, which has the advantage of protecting companies from a problem in any one country, but also poses difficulties in terms of logistics.
Regional Market Share
The US sports and fitness clothing market is the largest in the world, according to research from Global Industry Analysts. The EU and Asia-Pacific are quite far behind the US in terms of regional market share. The three combined dominate the global sports apparel industry. Asia-Pacific has vast potential for expansion, driven by rising demand from various countries including China, Australia, Hong Kong and India. Asia-Pacific is expected to record annual growth of more than 4% through 2015.
- The global sportswear market is highly competitive. The industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions over recent years. Key players in the industry include Reebok, Adidas, Puma and Nike.
- US-based Nike is the world leader in athletic footwear and apparel. The company sells its products in close to 700 Nike-owned retail outlets, and is carried by close to 25,000 US retailer accounts. Nike employs over 35,000 people worldwide and operates in more than 160 countries.
- More than half of Reebok apparel sold in the US is produced in Asia. Reebok operates manufacturing plants in 45 countries. Its footwear division has plants in over a dozen countries, with more than half of the company’s footwear produced in China, over 20% in Indonesia, and over 15% in Vietnam. Almost 90% of Reebok footwear is produced in less than a dozen plants, by more than 75,000 employees.
- Headquartered in Germany, Adidas has about 179 subsidiaries. The company employees close to 43,000 people worldwide. Under its Route 2015 plan, the company aims to boost sales by between 45% and 50% in the five-year period ending 2015, representing yearly growth of 15%.
- Puma manufactures and retails sports apparel for various activities, including running, golf, sailing, football and motorsports. It collaborates with designer fashion names such as Sergio Rossi and Alexander McQueen. The company also owns the brands Tretorn and Cobra Golf. Puma distributes its sports apparel in over 120 countries and employs close to 10,000 people worldwide. In 2010, the company’s generated sales of over $2.7 billion, 53% of which came from footwear, under 35% from apparel, and almost 13% from accessories.
- Other companies operating in the global sports apparel industry include Foot Locker, Gap, JJB Sports, HanesBrands, Jacques Moret, Old Navy, ASICS, Hugo Boss, Billabong, Columbia Sportswear, Hugo Boss, FUBU, Gildan Activewear, Fila, Banana Republic, Benetton, Fila Online, Black Leisure Group, Everlast, and Descente.
Product innovation continues to prove key in the sports clothing industry, with companies employing technological innovation to keep up with changing trends in fitness. Companies invest heavily in research and development to offer athletes and casual sports participants higher performance products.
In the years to come, more health-conscious older demographics in the US, the EU, Japan, and other developing countries across Latin America and Asia will drive demand. Women, in particular, will become increasingly present as a strong consumer demographic for the sports apparel industry. This will see companies market their products specifically to women to answer their needs.
The line between sports apparel and fashion apparel will become increasingly blurred, encouraging more collaboration between the sporting and fashion industries. Innovation in fabrics will influence the market, with consumers looking for functions such as friction reduction, lightness, stretch, water resistance and temperature regulation.
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