Featured Jan 15, 2020 6 min read

Activewear market analysis

Activewear communications may surge in January. However, this category is bigger than 'new year, new me.'

activewear market

According to Allied Market Research, the global activewear industry is expected to reach nearly $547 billion by 2024 as fast fashion brands continue to face off against traditional sportswear retailers for a slice of the market.

How can brands stand out in an overcrowded space? EDITED’s Retail Decision Platform uses real-time data, so businesses can react to product and pricing changes in the performance and activewear market with ease. Reach out for a demo today. And keep reading for everything you need to know about activewear in 2020.

Namaste everyday 

The healthy lifestyle trend has evolved beyond diet culture as self-care transitions from a luxury to a necessity for  consumers. Combined with the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry, this lifestyle shift is no passing trend. Yoga apparel is now a staple at traditional sportswear retailers such as Nike, adidas, Under Armor and New Balance who continue to grow their investment in this category over time. 

Currently, there are 85% more yoga products in stock YoY at pure play active retailers in the US with the number of men’s items increasing by 26%, highlighting an opportunity in this ever-growing market.

activewear market

Analyzing new arrivals described as ‘yoga’ at these retailers across the US and UK market proves the consistent momentum of this category, as well as the phasing of investments. While activewear trends are hyped up in January to support consumers’ new year’s fitness resolutions, the majority of yoga apparel has consistently arrived online in Q3 over the past two years. This is something for retailers to bear in mind when promoting summer fitness communications. 

Sustainable sneakers to dominate

Technical features and fabrications are paramount, which typically does not traditionally categorize sportswear as eco-friendly. This means there is opportunity for retailers to innovate with more sustainable practices and materials. Just a few weeks into 2020, repurposed materials are at the forefront with new activewear arrivals described as ‘recycled’ up 642% for men and 388% for women YoY.  

2019 saw more brands release sustainable and vegan footwear lines as demand for animal-free and eco-fashion grows. Sustainable sneakers became a mainstay in consumer’s athleisure wardrobes with Everlane’s first trainer launch, and DTC brands such as Allbirds and Veja reaching mainstream success. 

This year will see retailers continue to reinvent the less sustainable aspects of performance footwear. Many retailers including adidas and Reebok teamed up with Mississippi-based startup, Bloom, to incorporate foam compounds made from algae into sneaker midsoles to reduce the amount of EVA used. The industry will continue to phase out virgin plastics with retailers looking up to adidas, which pledged to use only recycled plastics in its products by 2024.  Currently, Kanye West has unveiled a Yeezy prototype made from environmentally-friendly algae due to drop in 2020 for $75.

activewear market
Everlane US Email 09 Dec 2019

Additionally, trainers have been a key category attributed to the rise of the resale market and circular economy, as consumers seek to purchase limited-edition styles.

The new fitspo

Inclusive sizing will continue to see representation in the activewear market this year, not just in products but also in advertising. 

Through EDITED’s Retail Decision Platform, we’ve already seen the number of available activewear styles online double YoY at plus size retailers including Lane Bryant and Simply Be. 

Target is poised to disrupt this category with the All in Motion active collection launching on January 17th. The line will cater to sizes from XS-4X for women, S-3X for men and XS-XXL for kids. 

The recent UK campaign, This Girl Can, has set the bar high for realistic sports promotion in 2020. The advert, which launched on January 14th, marks its fifth anniversary and has already gone viral. It features a diverse group of women exercising, while combating everyday issues that are seen as “taboo” on screens such as dealing with visible tampon strings and period pain.

activewear market

Fast fashion brands want in…but price isn’t always the competing factor

Can fashion brands compete in this already saturated market? Fall 2019 saw steady growth in activewear arrivals from fashion brands. And the trend isn’t looking to slow in 2020 with Nasty Gal debuting two capsule ranges in the first week of January.

Analyzing the average price points across core categories can help retailers plan upcoming ranges and ensure their new season launches are in line with the market. 

Despite the many new entrants to this category, reveals average price points have remained relatively consistent as we look back across the activewear market in 2019. Fluctuations are in line with new drops of sports outerwear, which often requires a more technical construction and drives prices up.

activewear market

Traditional non-active brands continue to launch products at accessible price points, in line with their existing categories. While sportswear retailers may be tempted to drop their prices to compete in this playing field, Lululemon has seen success without having to compromise margin. The activewear giant known for high but consistent price points and minimal discounting even during sales, recently announced positive third-quarter growth last year, as well as a record-breaking holiday period. EDITED data confirms Lululemon’s prices for core categories still sat above the market average. New leggings and tops arriving on the US site for the second half of 2019 sat 58% and 52% higher than average, respectively.

Emerging trends for 2020



As Chinese New Years approaches, retailers have been capitalizing on the lucky color for their new performance drops. Analyzing over 20 US brands, EDITED noted 71 new styles in this hue arriving in 2020 compared to just 25 last year.


Snake is currently the animal print of choice as it continues its dominance as a major pattern for performance wear. Old Navy and Alala have already promoted the pattern across a variety of shades on social media to ring in the new year.

For more women’s activewear trends for 2020, log in to read our analyst report.


Nostalgic streetwear

Since retro trends came through men’s Fall 2020 runway, nods to nostalgia and streetwear will continue to influence the activewear scene this year.

High tech 

Technical fabrications will continue to be of importance. Last year, the term ‘moisture-wicking’ was featured in 39% of more products YoY, while fabrics described as ‘breathable’ grew by 85%.

For more men’s activewear trends for 2020, log in to read our analyst report.

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