Fitness & activewear: How to avoid sinking in a saturated market

The fitness and activewear market continues to boom in the UK – growing new-in volumes by 5.5% YOY following continued emphasis on wellness in 2018. However, dangers of saturation are only becoming more imminent, leading to a 46.8% increase of marked down products on a year on year basis. Ahead of next week’s Big Issues: Activewear report for our subscribers, we identify three strategies that retailers need to be reacting to in the next six months in order to capitalise in this fiercely competitive industry.

Edit assortments to avoid high levels of marked down product

In a heavily congested market, retailers need to stand out by offering the right product at the right time and at the right price to their consumers. The use of customer insight data should no longer be a novelty within businesses and needs to be implemented by retailers in order to avoid large volumes of markdowns and to upkeep price integrity. Understand core customers’ values and behaviours to ensure each product is delivered to their exact needs.

Plus size isn’t a novelty

For many, the start of their personal health journey begins with the purchase of affordable, fitting activewear but find themselves demotivated as plus size options are limited and expensive. When styles are offered even above a size 14, they tend to be basic and black whilst smaller sizes benefit from trend-led shapes and colours. The importance of inclusivity will continue to dominate in 2018 and retailers need to incorporate these values to the core of their business. Use this opportunity to motivate and inspire plus size consumers to become active by bringing core and plus size ranges together – ensuring the same styles are available across sizes but also represented by aspirational plus size models in campaigns and product pages.

Function and fashion need to align

Comfort-driven clothing remains important this year, however athleisure has since evolved to become even more versatile. For retailers, this makes it difficult to drive repeat purchases so styling and merchandising must be both innovative and inspirational to encourage impulse purchases. Ensure top-up items are restyled both online and in-store to create perceptions of newness, bringing excitement and desire to existing items.


Liked this? Read WGSN Insight’s Active Intelligence – Women’s Gym Tribes report.

NEED RETAIL DATA? Knowing when to back a trend, colour, category or item and knowing when to back off is crucial – you can’t afford to get it wrong. Know exactly what’s trending in retail across every category with WGSN InStock. Find out more here.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.