Apr 6, 2021
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Workout clothing and accessories will continue to boom post-lockdown - report

Apr 6, 2021

The prospects could be strong for the workout clothing sector once the UK reopens, even if gyms struggle to attract the same level of custom they had pre-pandemic.

Photo: Cottonbro/Pexels

On Tuesday, researcher GlobalData said that half of UK consumers bought home workout products during the pandemic and three-quarters intend to continue working out at home post-pandemic.

Clearly, it could mean a slow return to gyms if home workouts are providing everything these consumers need. But the higher take-up of exercise in general would clearly benefit the sports clothing, accessories and footwear segments.

The firm’s research among 2,000 consumers showed 52.2% of UK consumers have taken part in home workouts since March 2020 and 53.3% of UK consumers have bought workout products. The average amount spent in the UK on these per person in the last 12 months is £162.

Importantly, of the UK consumers who opted for home workouts since March 2020, nearly 32% didn’t exercise regularly before (which represents a very large new group of potential customers for workout brands) and 76% say they’ll continue post-pandemic.

The researchers said the trend “has provided a boost to sports clothing and equipment retailers”.

Jonathan Rock, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Concerned about their fitness and wanting to make productive use of their home time, participation in home workouts has remained a popular choice with UK consumers over the last 12 months. Even during the excellent weather last summer and into the autumn when restrictions were minimal and people were keen to get out of their homes, around a quarter of UK consumers still continued with their home workout regimes. January 2021 was the most popular month for home workouts, as the cold weather and New Year lockdown reignited interest in the trend.”

The analyst added that 28.2% of survey respondents bought workout clothing such as tops, shorts and leggings, while 21.3% bought footwear. Such items were also bought because of their versatility as they could be worn while working at home as well as while working out at home.

And given the large number that have bought bigger-ticket items like gym equipment and exercise machines, it's likely that they'll want to get full value out of these purchases in 2021.

GlobalData also highlighted that brands that picked up on the trend early have done well. It said Adidas’s emphasis on direct-to-customers sales appears to have paid off as 20.9% of consumers bought home workout apparel products direct from it – almost twice as much as rival Nike, and 5.1ppts more than from ASOS.

Rock added: “Home workouts are here to stay with a sizeable growth in the average annual spend on products associated with this trend over the last 12 months, fuelled by expensive gym equipment and the increased popularity of athleisure wear during lockdown which all suggests a significant increase in the long-term size of the home workout market.”

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