Wellness as a Key Value Driver in Sportswear

February 2023

Sportswear continued to outperform the overall industry in 2022, but a more challenging environment over the forecast period calls brands to shift their message towards wellness for growth opportunities.Sportswear brands should understand the renewed definition of wellness, which now goes beyond oneself and includes consumers’ communities and the planet, especially for younger consumers. Digital transformation has also reached wellness, challenging brands to communicate and engage with consumers

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Sportswear continues to outperform the overall industry

Boosted by the pandemic, casualisation and wellness trends favoured sportswear growth, and although these trends are set to continue, a challenging macro environment will slow down growth over the forecast. Consumers’ desire to be healthy will be a key driver for sportswear brands as active lifestyles - and sports - are key elements for this purpose.

Wellness is now embedded into consumers’ lifestyles

A more holistic approach to health brings opportunities for sports companies and brands, not only for product design but also to accompany consumers throughout their wellness journey. Consumers are willing to proactively take charge of their own health by changing their habits, from nutrition, to preventative health, to exercising, wellness is now embedded in their lifestyles.

Physical activity becomes more relevant for consumers wanting to be healthy

The pandemic has increased consumers’ awareness about the importance of being active, but not all consumers have the option to exercise as differences remain across consumer segments. Sportswear brands can play an active role in helping underserved consumers to improve their physical and mental health by making exercising accessible to them. 

Redefined wellness includes the community and the planet

Consumers’ understanding of wellness is about their health and self-care, but also about how to engage with the world around them, and how their actions impact others. As a consequence, they choose companies and brands that are aligned to their values, and scrutinise closely sustainability and DEI claims.

Digital wellness creates opportunities for further consumer engagement

Opportunities lie ahead for sportswear brands accompanying consumers on their digital journey to wellness. As consumers’ busy lifestyles left them with no spare time to dedicate to their self-care, the convenience and immediacy of digital health are key factors for the former’s development. The rise of health tracking technologies exemplifies this trend.

Executive summary
Sportswear outperforms apparel and footwear, but growth slows down
Australasia and Asia Pacific grew faster, but North America remained the largest market
Boosted by the pandemic, casualisation benefited sports-inspired categories
Top 10 players strengthen their position, but new brands venture into sportswear
E-commerce and retail offline will have to learn to live together
Focus on health and wellness among top trends shaping the fashion industry
Wellness’ impact across industries expected to continue in the long run
The pandemic heightened public concerns around health and wellness
Wellness becomes embedded into consumer lifestyles
COVID-19 pandemic impacted wellness-related industries differently
A renewed definition of health involves a more proactive approach
The wellness consumer: Active, with a community mindset and digitally engaged
Physical activity increases across the globe since the pandemic…
…but differences remain among consumer segments and geographies
Factors preventing exercise differ across incomes, geographies, genders and generations
Factors preventing exercise differ across incomes, geographies, genders and generations (2)
Factors preventing exercise differ across incomes, geographies, genders and generations (3)
Factors preventing exercise differ across incomes, geographies, genders and generations (4)
Austrians return to their sporty lifestyles benefiting sales of outdoor apparel
Dynamic outdoor Chinese market attract new entrants and store openings
Expanding the consumer base, a lesson learnt from sports nutrition
Sports nutrition brands GymBeam and Atkin venture into sportswear in the Czech Republic
Sports apparel and footwear brands can find consumers beyond fitness enthusiasts
Case study: Lane Eight teams up with Shake Shack for a limited-edition sneaker
Case study: golf wear brand Pearly Gates speaks to and attracts Gen Z/ Millennial consumers
Mental health, an area of opportunity for sportswear brands
Case study: Nike Mind SETS programme asks consumers “how are you feeling?”
The holistic approach to wellness is personal, social and global
Stricter regulations to further support consumers’ demand for sustainability strategies
Appreciation for sports is linked to nature and preserving the planet
Case study: Patagonia’s boldest move so far on its quest to fight climate change
Consumers want to stay at home, but being part of a community
Sportswear and DEI: Refocusing the attention to female consumers
Case study: Asian brand Maia Active embraces body positivity
Circularity has become a must for fashion, and resale appears to be an option with potential
Case study: lululemon launches resale program Like New
Omnichannel is a must for sportswear brands
Case study: Nike opens world’s first “Nike Style” concept store in Seoul
Consumers are open to digital tools that help to achieve health and wellness goals
Home as a health hub is re-emphasised, boosting home fitness and digital wellness
Technology to boost personalisation for health-focused sportswear
Case study: Antartic pioneers smart clothing innovation in Chile
Sportswear will continue to outperform the overall industry over the forecast period
Physical activity will continue to gain relevance in the coming years
Sustainability and DEI will be at the core of sportswear brands’ strategies moving forward
Sportswear brands can accompany their customers’ wellness journey, digitally
Consumers will choose sportswear brands aligned to their renewed definition of wellness
Definitions (1/2)
Definitions (2/2)

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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