Although sportswear was unable to avoid the negative effect of the closure of non-essential brick-and-mortar stores in the second quarter of 2020, the magnitude of the impact was significantly smaller than in other apparel and footwear categories. While demand for formal wear and fashion-orientated clothing was undermined by the lack of face-to-face business and social occasions, demand for sportswear was supported by consumers turning to outdoor activities in the absence of other leisure and entertainment opportunities and in order to avoid crowded urban locations because of concerns about exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Sportswear brands, especially foreign multinational brands, have shifted their focus to direct-to-consumer communication in recent years. This proved to be felicitous in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, as store closures, home seclusion and concerns about viral transmission through social contact drove consumers – who were more digitally engaged than ever during the pandemic – to migrate towards e-commerce.
Functionality remained an important claim in sportswear during the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, the general shift away from fashion-orientated purchases in the context of a lack of social occasions and the increased consumer uptake of outdoor activity and regular exercise reinforced the importance of functionality in consumer purchasing decisions.
The health and wellness trend is well-established and is set to drive a continuing and growing consumer commitment to regular exercise and sporting activity during the forecast period. The trend will be supported by demographic factors, with Japan’s already old population continuing to age and becoming increasingly conscious of the role of regular physical activity in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing throughout life.
Technological innovation is expected to play an important part in competition between sportswear players during the forecast period. Technologies targeting growing consumer interest in personalisation and sustainability are set to be a particularly prominent feature of innovation.
The COVID-19 crisis accelerated shifts in the role of brick-and-mortar stores in the sportswear category. Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, many sportswear stores and retailers were increasing their focus on experiences and offering workshops, testing areas or even playgrounds for children.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Sportswear industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
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This report originates from Passport, our Sportswear research and analysis database.
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