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Sweatpants: Time To Jog On?

Part of the Ask EDITD campaign, you asked should they stay or should they go? Get the lowdown on sweatpants with the latest market data behind the trend.
Sweatpants: Time To Jog On? | EDITED

We’re back again to answer the Great Unsolved – the apparel industry questions submitted by you. We’ve already responded to your queries on the next big trends, how to price dresses and given you the lowdown on landing a career in the industry. Now, we turn our attention to that love-hate item: sweatpants.

Q: How big are joggers for Fall ‘15? Are they going to come off the boil or are they as big as last year?

EDITD Answer: Since we value brevity over here at EDITD, we’ll answer your second question right off the bat: it’s probably coming off the boil. But of course, it’s not black and white. No, that’d be much too easy, wouldn’t it? So, okay, let’s take a closer look.

Overall, new arrivals of women’s sweatpants have started to trail off, but not dramatically. There are still more new joggers arriving in stores now than at this time last year. And to be clear, we’re talking about arrivals within the jogger trend. Not the ones that have always, and will always, be around. So, more arrivals good is good right? Well, remember, they’re dropping into an already packed market. Very packed.

To put that ‘packed-ness’ in context, consider the kimono. Though it’s cooling down, the trend still has 5,808 products online globally. Equally popular, culottes exist cumulatively as 3,843 products globally. And joggers? 13,038 total products.

If that’s red flag number one, here’s number two: half of those products are discounted. And by more than a little. The average discount on a pair of joggers is 37%.

Is the sweatpant trend cooling? The average discount on a pair of women’s joggers is currently 37%.

Drilling down into the 3 month period of April 1 – July 1 2015, the majority of new products were priced between $30-40 and 5.7% of them sold out – while 27% have since been discounted. Contrasted to the same period in 2014, 5.4% of new arrivals sold out, but just 14% were ever discounted. Sell outs have grown by a decimal, while discounts have pretty much doubled. We’ll call that red flag number three.

So, given all that, what is selling well? Pale grey, drawstring waist joggers, more for workouts than daywear, are still dominant. Especially at Superdry, Topshop, Forever 21 and Wildfox. For printed joggers, the last three months have favored the painterly prints from Onzie, animal print from ASOS, geometric form River Island, flamingoes at G-Star and floral from New Look.

Successful sweatpant styles from Topshop, Onzie, G-Star, ASOS & Superdry.
Successful sweatpant styles from Topshop, Onzie, G-Star, ASOS & Superdry.

These fresher takes feel like the right direction, but don’t don’t expect them to sustain the trend at full force. After all, women’s joggers were not a huge presence on the Fall 2015 runways. Instead, designers made strong moves towards wider leg shapes and denim flares.

So what’s it all look like when you add it up? Given the data and the lack of runway ubiquity, our advice would be to proceed cautiously. Though we’d be wrong to say there aren’t a couple of exceptions.

If you’re a retailer manufacturing at the popular $30-40 price point, things seems to suggest you should carry on doing what you’re doing. No need to dramatically pull back, but do use the trends within the trend. Go ahead and ramp up the prints and expect to discount within 3 months.

If you are a premium retailer eager to stock into joggers, the best bet is to push towards luxe sport and loungewear. Sure, the time to promote ‘styling up’ joggers for work and nights out has passed, but more and more consumers are investing in quality activewear. That’s where your opportunity lies.

For everyone else, it’s probably time to slip into something less comfortable.

We hope that answers your question! If there’s anything else you’d like to know about this or the retail industry in general, we’re always here for you to ask!