Around 54% of UK consumers purchased activewear in the last 12 months

Around 54% of UK consumers purchased activewear in the last 12 months

With activewear now taking a more dominant space in UK consumers' wardrobes, clothing chains are increasingly competing with sports specialists in a bid to drive purchases.

Around 54% of UK consumers purchased activewear in the last 12 months, according to new data from Verdict Research, with the highest penetration among those aged 25 to 34 (61%) and 35 to 44 (61.5%).

Just under half (43.3%) of consumers prefer to wear activewear instead of other clothing in their wardrobes, while 52.3% are wearing it more than once a week.

"Changing consumer lifestyles have caused a shift towards consumers seeking multifunctional activewear garments," said Rebecca Marks, retail consultant at Verdict. "It is becoming more and more acceptable to wear activewear for both physical activities and social events, particularly since retailers have invested in making ranges far more fashionable and trend-led."

Specialist sports brands have the highest usage for purchases in this category, with 9.7% of activewear consumers shopping at JD Sports over the last 12 months. Competitor Sports Direct sits close on its heels with a 9.6% penetration rate. 

But with price a key driver in retail purchases, these specialists are facing rising competition from value fashion brands, with Primark ranking third for usage (7.4%). This trend is expected to continue to rise as it expands its ranges.

Retailers have also reacted by allocating more space to ranges in stores, and through e-commerce web banners and marketing campaigns.

"Strong competition on the high street has caused retailers' physical and digital channels to become battlegrounds for activewear," said Marks. "While the competition becomes more powerful, it is no longer enough to simply expand into this market with an attractive range – products must be exposed to attract new customers and build destination appeal within the sportswear market."