Sportswear in Western Europe

August 2022

Sportswear in Western Europe saw a marked decline in sales in 2020, when Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions negatively impacted the overall apparel and footwear market. However, a strong rebound was seen in 2021, with further positive growth expected over the forecast period. Further development of digital capabilities, increasing concerns about the sustainability of the overall industry and health and wellness will be among the trends shaping sportswear in the coming years.

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Key findings

Athleisure trend supporting sportswear sales

Athleisure is a major trend in many countries, with the comfort and sought-after styles offered by major sportswear brands such as adidas and Nike increasingly worn in consumers’ daily lives. Home seclusion during the pandemic, including remote working, further supported this trend, expanding sportswear’s reach among the adult population, who were prioritising convenience over appearance. The relatively strong performance of sportswear during the pandemic means that this category is also being increasingly penetrated by general apparel brands, rather than just sportswear specialists.

Sustainability gaining in importance

adidas is committed to reducing and ultimately ending plastic waste through innovative solutions and partnerships through its Three Loop Strategy. It is also working to remove all virgin polyester from its products by 2024 and to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 30% by 2030, as well as maintaining a goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

E-commerce share expands during the pandemic

Sportswear is marked by a high penetration of e-commerce in Germany (42% 2021 share), with further growth expected over the forecast period. The pandemic significantly boosted sales in 2020 when non-essential stores were closed, especially sports goods stores. While digital fashion platforms such as Zalando have contributed historically to this growth, in the future, traditional bricks-and-mortar players are expected to further boost e-commerce growth.

Positive growth expected in 2021-2026

While growth will still be elevated in 2022, continuing to recover the ground lost during 2020, annual growth rates are expected to slow from 2023, standing at around 1-2% a year until the end of the forecast period. Health and wellbeing will continue to be important for consumers, so that participating in sport or taking exercise will increasingly appeal, supporting demand for the appropriate apparel and footwear, in addition to sportswear’s popularity as a fashion item or comfortable casualwear option.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional overview

Western Europe the third biggest regional sportswear market
Swift rebound from year-earlier decline for sportswear in 2021
Strong rebounds for the UK and Italy in 2021
Sports-inspired footwear most dynamic over the historic period
Sports-inspired footwear the main generator of new revenue in 2016-2021
Sportswear sales bounce back into positive territory in 2021
Sports good stores continue to lead sportswear sales…
…but lose a lot of share to e-commerce during the pandemic

Leading companies and brands

Sportswear a relatively fragmented competitive landscape
Nike and adidas remain the clear leaders in Western European sportswear
France, Germany and the UK the main revenue generators for the top 10 players
No changes in the top five brand rankings in 2016-2021

Forecast projections

Further positive growth expected for sportswear in Western Europe
Environmental concerns expected to be increasingly seen among consumers

Country snapshots

Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway: Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape

Apparel and Footwear

Apparel is the aggregation of clothing and footwear. This dataset covers retail sales of apparel through both store-based retailers and non-store retailers. Excludes black market sales (i.e. untaxed, generated within informal retailing)and duty free sales (travel retail). Items must be new when sold to the consumer; second-hand/used items are excluded. Antique and/or vintage clothing and footwear is also excluded.

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