Sportswear has been established firmly in the broader markets for clothing and footwear since the 1980s. Consumers in the UK spent £4.48bn on sportswear in 2004 and this represented just over 10% of their total spending on clothing and footwear (only 8.5% of the clothing market, but a 22% share in footwear).
Press Release Body = Sports Clothing and Footwear Market Report (PDF Format)
Sportswear has been established firmly in the broader markets for clothing and footwear since the 1980s. Consumers in the UK spent £4.48bn on sportswear in 2004 and this represented just over 10% of their total spending on clothing and footwear (only 8.5% of the clothing market, but a 22% share in footwear). The spend was split between £3.15bn on sports clothing and £1.33bn on sports footwear.
Dividing the market between active and leisure use, or fashion versus function, is difficult in the sports-inspired leisurewear market. However, sportswear specialists continue to stress the \'performance\' qualities of their products, and it is the consumer who chooses sportswear as clothing and footwear for either everyday use, or for taking part in a sport (or both). A Key Note survey in 2005 (see Chapter 6 - Buying Behaviour) found that half of adults buy sportswear for participation, but 26% admit to wearing it without taking part in a sport, and 35% simply buy sportswear as `fashionable leisurewear\'.
Sportswear is a globalised industry, largely revolving around three dominant brands: Nike, Reebok (both US based), and adidas (based in Germany). In August 2005, the latter brands were brought under one roof when adidas paid e3.1bn for Reebok. These brands are leaders in both active sportswear and fashionable leisurewear. The many other brands are more specialised, usually by type of sport. The UK\'s leading companies include: Umbro (football kit), Hi-Tec (trainers and outdoor footwear) and Pentland Group (through subsidiaries such as Speedo, Berghaus and Ellesse). More than 90% of the UK market consists of imports, with licensed production centred in the Far East and, from 2005, shifting rapidly to factories in China.
Retailing of sportswear is more fragmented than ever, through sports shops, general stores and e-commerce, with multiple grocers making inroads. The two largest specialists are JJB Sports and Blacks Leisure Group.
Demand is now cyclical for various sports products and `looks\', such as the classic white trainer or running shoe, or hooded top originally used for warming up. Such products will come and go in a mature market - emphasised by the popular `retro\' styles - but the recent publicity surrounding the need for physical activity to tackle obesity and poor health should stimulate demand for `performance sportswear\'.