Jan 25, 2018
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Britons raise activewear spend, mix function with fashion, love Nike, Adidas

Jan 25, 2018

Britons are spending more and more money on activewear and many have seen their spend soaring in only the last year as running in particular has become even more popular than ever.


That certainly explains the rush among retailers large and small to offer activewear ranges at present with Primark, Joules and H&M being only the latest of a raft of key names to launch new lines recently.

The survey said that Londoners in particular are increasing not only what they spend but the amounts they spend per item, while UK shoppers in general seem be particularly in love with global power brands Nike and Adidas.

That’s according to Rakuten Marketing, which released a new survey of 2,000 UK consumers highlighting just how important performance and athleisure clothing, footwear and accessories are.

On average, Britons said they spent £141 on their most expensive piece of activewear last year, and Londoners spent £187. Chances are that item was linked to running as that’s the activity/sport most likely to drive activewear purchases, although it’s followed closely by gym workouts.

Nearly half of Britons are likely to have spent their money on footwear as 47% said this was the most expensive activewear purchase they made last year, with another 29% making their greatest investment in clothing.


While sports brands have been targeting women heavily in recent years, the survey showed that men are still spending more than women on activewear.

As mentioned, Londoners are the most likely to splash out on expensive items. But while Northerners spend slightly less than average (£137) on expensive single purchases, the lowest activewear spenders are actually London’s neighbours in the South of England, averaging £127.


As mentioned, running tops the table for activewear spend with 19% of consumers buying running products. But among the 16-29 age group, running figures in 24% of purchase decisions. This is closely followed by the gym at 16% for all age groups, but 25% for 16-29s, and as low as 9% for over 60s.

Clearly, activewear is most popular among young people and given that sport/fitness have long been a very youth-focused activity, that’s perhaps no surprise. What’s possibly more surprising (and encouraging for the industry) is that Britons generally are devoting a bigger percentage of their discretionary cash to sports gear. Some 44% said their spending has increased on activewear in the last year. And a quarter of them said their spending rise was as much as 70% to 100%. Again, the biggest growth was in the 16-29 age group (57% of young consumers) and in London (54% of those in the UK capital).

But the big question is - are people spending so much more because they’re really serious about exercise or is it a fashion thing? A bit of both actually. Some 75% of those surveyed said the don their activewear when exercising, but 49% are also wearing it at home, 29% when running errands and even 13% at work. Maybe London has more casual dress codes than the rest of the country, but as many as 19% of the Londoners surveyed said they wore activewear to work last year.  


The survey also showed that UK consumers are most influenced by friends (37%) and family (33%) when it comes to what they buy, but sports influencers and social media stars also have an impact for nearly a fifth of Britons.

As mentioned earlier, Nike is the brand that influences activewear purchases the most (39%), while Adidas drives 28% of shoppers to buy. More unexpectedly, some of the largest names in sport have quite a lot of catching up to do, including Under Armour (which only scores 5%) and Reebok (on 9%).
It’s interesting too that a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions surrounding activewear is fit. Some 39% of consumers do most of their activewear shopping online and 35% of those surveyed said fit is a key factor to consider when shopping for workout gear.

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