Summer fitness, Olympic fever and the rise of activewear sales

Activewear is hot for the summer with H&M's new launch and Nike's innovations

When you think of a spike in activewear sales, you automatically think of the beginning of the year. Come January, that’s when most consumers kick-start their fitness regime again, to burn off the indulgence of the holidays. But the building consumer appetite for a summer fitness routine is giving January a run for its money (when it comes to active sales), and this summer in particular, Olympic fever is pushing sales higher in the womenswear sector.


“We saw active deliveries peak in July holding 2.5% of all new apparel, almost doubling YOY. The Olympics are driving a 146% YOY increase in active apparel among non-specialist retailers,” said WGSN Instock editor Jessica Fioriti.


Ivy Park the active range from Beyonce and Topshop

When it comes to styles and styling, stripes drove prints with a 37% mix, up 9pp YOY followed by floral (17%), abstract (10%) and animal (10%). And the consumer appetite is higher for activewear bottoms vs tops. Active pants, such as stripped and print leggings, held 46% of the newness, followed by active tops at 29%.

Commenting on the growing sales of activewear and the Olympic effect on retail, Clare Varga, WGSN Active Director said: “For The Olympics, Nike is really pushing new innovations (with fabrics and technology) H&M’s new active campaign celebrates the power of sport to change lives, and evem Mcdonald’s has launched a range of activewear for the Olympics, all of which highlight the power and growth within this retail category.”

From US breakout star Simone Biles, the female gymnast taking the world by storm at the moment with her phenomenal turn in Rio to British star Siobhan-Marie O’Connor who just took silver for her swimming at the games; athletes are inspiring consumers to go for gold.

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