Sportswear in Latin America

July 2019

Latin America remains a relatively small and slow-growing market for sportswear, affected by the recent economic crises in Argentina and Brazil. However, as the global health and wellness trend and the casualisation of dress codes encourage Latin Americans to adopt new lifestyles, they are increasingly purchasing performance and sports-inspired apparel and footwear, with economic recoveries and the development of internet retailing expected to accelerate this growth going forward.

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Key Findings

Latin America is a relatively small but growing market for sportswear

Latin America was the world’s fifth largest sportswear market in 2018, with sales exceeding those of only Australasia and Eastern Europe. The global health and wellness trend has, however, helped to increase sales of sportswear in recent years, as Latin Americans increase participation in athletic activities, driven by the opening of affordable fitness clubs throughout the region.

Economic crises in Argentina and Brazil have negatively impacted performance

Currency devaluations and decreased consumer buying power as a result of the ongoing economic crises in Argentina and Brazil have negatively impacted sportswear sales in these markets in recent years, with major global players closing local factories in favour of foreign imports, further raising prices.

Global players continue to dominate across fragmented markets

Throughout Latin America, independent local producers, secondary markets and counterfeit products continue to present obstacles for local and global brands seeking to establish a firm footing in the market. As a result, adidas and Nike remain isolated in their leadership across markets, bolstered by wide distribution and strong brand recognition, thanks to years of athlete sponsorships.

The preferred retail channels vary across markets, while internet retailing growth seems immune to economic challenges

Retail channel distribution varies across Latin American countries, influenced by local cultural preferences and consumer habits. Across markets, however, internet retailing has been the most dynamic channel, and has been largely immune to the economic crises in Argentina and Brazil, thanks to consumers’ ability to compare prices across retailers.

Mexico will overtake Brazil as Latin America’s largest market by 2020

As Mexican consumers increasingly wear sportswear for both athletic and everyday use, sales in Mexico will overtake those in the declining Brazil, to become Latin America’s largest sportswear market by 2020.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Latin America remains a small and slow-growing market for sportswear
Economic crises diminish growth
Individual market economics determine category performance
Mexico drives growth through sports-inspired products
Performance and sports-inspired footwear leads value growth
Changing lifestyles and local economics determine demand
Store-based retailing remains dominant across Latin America
Local cultural preferences determine retail distribution

Leading Companies and Brands

Local intricacies result in varying market fragmentation
Local sponsorships strengthen global players’ lead
Growing markets present opportunities for new entrants
Leading players shuffle positions

Forecast Projections

Mexico is expected to overtake Brazil as Latin America’s largest market
Economic recoveries will help to accelerate growth

Country Snapshots

Brazil: market context
Brazil: competitive and retail landscape
Mexico: market context
Mexico: competitive and retail landscape
Chile: market context
Chile: competitive and retail landscape
Argentina: market context
Argentina: competitive and retail landscape
Colombia: market context
Colombia: competitive and retail landscape


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