Apparel and athletic footwear companies have overtaken their rivals in fast fashion and lifestyle since the start of Covid-19

Apparel and athletic footwear companies have outpaced their fast fashion and lifestyle competitors since the onset of Covid-19 as sales of athletic clothing continued to grow during the pandemic, driven by appetite growing for fitness in the country and the growing adoption of sports disciplines other than cricket.

Companies such as Decathlon, Asics, Puma, Skechers and Reebok grew 7-24% in the fiscal year ended December 2020, significantly overtaking clothing retailers Zara, Benetton, Marks & Spencer, Levi’s and Lifestyle, which decreased or increased to single digits. during the year, according to regulatory declarations.

“There are more and more people turning to health and fitness, and more and more people are going to gyms, where young consumers not only want to be fit, but also want to look good. . Thus, sports products have a mixture of performance and appearance, ”said Rajat Khurana, Managing Director of Asics India and South Asia. “Market dynamics are working in our favor and we grew 30% last year.”

For 2019, the company recorded growth of 18%.

India has seen increasing interest in sports such as kabaddi, soccer, volleyball, hockey, and badminton. It now hosts professional leagues in most of these sports disciplines, attracting participants from all over the world.

According to data analysis firm AltInfo, French sporting goods retailer Decathlon grew 24% in the year ending March 2020 to reach Rs 2,231 crore, nearly doubling its sales over the years. last two years while Reebok grew 7% to Rs 428 crore. German brand Puma saw sales increase 22% to Rs 1,413 crore in the fiscal year ended December 2019.

Unlike most clothing companies, which grew slowly due to store closings starting in March and shoppers apprehensive about going out even after the lockdown was eased, clothing sales sports continued to increase.

Sportswear companies that have long relied on brick-and-mortar retail have also benefited from strengthening their online platforms.

Puma India Managing Director Abhishek Ganguly said consumers are adopting sports and fitness clothing due to increased awareness of health and wellness. “It is a trend which has been pronounced for the last two to three years and which has been revalidated and accentuated since the release.

Consumers are now much more focused on health than ever before and the market has grown during Covid, as the global clothing segment experiences headwinds, ”he said.

According to industry estimates, the sportswear market grew by 8-10% year-on-year during the period July-December 2020, as consumers wore such dresses for both fitness and sports. home work or video meetings.

Flipkart, owned by Walmart, said it has seen an increase in demand for women’s t-shirts, sweatpants, running shoes, walking shoes and tights. Athletic shoes have grown in popularity even in Tier 3 markets, a Flipkart spokesperson said. “Fitness as a category has grown steadily year on year, and as the pandemic has evolved we have noticed the trend in increased consumer searches for fitness clothing and equipment on Flipkart. as they continue to explore different fitness routines, ”the spokesperson said.

Amazon India said demand was high for sportswear and comfort wear outside of work and home essentials like open shoes. During the holiday season of last year, we observed strong customer interest in sportswear with 1.2 times higher demand year over year with constant high demand for footwear running, especially 1.6 times the growth for women’s running shoes, the spokesperson said.

With a population of 1.3 billion people, India is one of the fastest growing and most important international markets for footwear companies. Brands such as Reebok, Adidas, Nike and Puma have been around for over two decades in India and have grown by pushing their products in partnership with cricket and other sporting activities. New players, however, have positioned themselves as comfortable lifestyle and regular sportswear brands.

In a earnings call last year, David Weinberg, COO at Skechers USA, said the brand’s outlook in India was extraordinarily bright, especially over the long term. “We have seen incredible traction for the brand. For the year as a whole, the growth rate has been close to 50% and it is starting to become a very significant contributor to the overall economy of our international subsidiary activities, ”he said.

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