Performance apparel is an industry category which includes general athletic apparel, workout clothing, and a growing category of athletic-leisure items. It is a recent addition to the overall apparel industry, with leading brands like Under Armour entering the market with products in 1996 with Kevin Plank’s first microfiber t-shirt.
In 1997, just one year after the company was founded, 12 NCAA football teams and 10 NFL teams were already wearing performance apparel manufactured by Under Armour.
The clothing items developed by the performance apparel industry were originally developed for athletes, by athletes. Through the creation of undershirts, shorts, shoes, and other garments that move and adapt to changing conditions, people are able to perform better because they are more comfortable.
Technologies within this industry include moisture transportation systems which keep athletes cooler, drier, and lighter throughout their chosen activity.
Important Performance Apparel Industry Statistics
#1. In global sales, the performance apparel industry generated $79 billion in total revenues for FY 2016. (Euormonitor)
#2. Footwear and sports-inspired performance apparel are the two fasted growing segments of the industry today, with annual growth levels of 10% and 6% respectively. (Euromonitor)
#3. For 3 straight years, performance apparel intended as active wear, such as Yoga pants, has seen sales increases of 7%. That makes it the leading segment in terms of revenue generation for 2016. (Quartz Media)
#4. 53% of consumers say that they purchased performance apparel at a specialty running store in the past year, which is the same percentage that said they purchased a product online. 46% say they went to a sporting goods store, while just 17% said they went to a department store. (Running USA)
#5. Certain segments within the performance apparel industry have struggled to achieve the same levels of growth as the overall industry. Golf apparel dropped more than 2% in 2016, as did football-specific footwear. (Forbes)
#6. People are more likely to purchase performance apparel for their feet or legs compared to other segments of the body. In 2016, the revenues generated from apparel intended for “bottoms” was $242 million in the U.S., while revenues generated from “tops” totaled around $200 million. (Forbes)
#7. When compared to the overall athletic apparel industry, the performance apparel industry grew at 0.9% more in 2016. (Forbes)
#8. Since 2009, the total market for performance apparel, including footwear, has risen by more than 42%. It’s total value, including inventory and miscellaneous revenues and profits, tops $270 billion. (Morgan Stanley)
#9. Name brands within the performance apparel industry are seeing the strongest levels of growth. From 2010-2013, for example, Nike saw a 12.3% increase in segment sales, compared to the 2-3% levels of growth achieved by the industry as a whole. (Marketing Zeus)
#10. Online shopping is becoming a force within the performance apparel industry. 1 in 3 people who self-identify as being a Millennial used a video to research products within the industry in the past year. That’s double the rate of any other generation or age demographic. (Marketing Zeus)
#11. Older shoppers are still more likely to shop for performance apparel at a retail location, even if they’ve done online research on the products they prefer. 32% of Baby Boomers say that they went to a store to purchase a product after seeing a video about it online. (Marketing Zeus)
#12. 25% of video research attempts result in 6 purchases within the industry over a 6-month period. (Marketing Zeus)
#13. 30% of shoppers who are seeking out performance apparel options will spend $500 or more because of the availability of online product research. (Marketing Zeus)
#14. Although it is the weakest geographical segment in terms of revenue generation, the Middle East is also showing the strongest levels of growth. In recent years, YoY sales have been around 15%. (Sports Chump)
#15. In comparison, mature markets for the performance apparel industry have seen YoY growth rates of 1% or less. (Sports Chump)
#16. Despite about 50% of performance apparel shopping and research occurring from a mobile device, almost all research and shopping occurs at home. (Sports Chump)
#17. There are currently 1.8 million people directly employed in fashion-related industries in the United States. About 15% of these employment opportunities are directly related to the performance apparel industry. (Fashion United)
#18. For employees working within the performance apparel industry, their average annual salary is around $26,000. Sales and marketing positions within the industry pay about 4 times this amount. (Fashion United)
#19. For employees based in the United States, about 4 out of every 5 are working in some way for an apparel retailer. (Fashion United)
#20. 52% of the market share within the current performance apparel industry is dedicated toward products for men. (Allied Market Reseach)
#21. Demand for sports leisure styles increased by 17% in 2017, generating $9.6 billion in sales in the United States. At the same time, the demand for specific performance apparel dropped by 10%, creating $7.4 billion in sales. (Forbes)
#22. Sales of training sneakers dropped 15% within the performance apparel industry in 2017, while running-inspired sneakers saw sales rise by 39%. In total, sneaker sales in the United States rose to $19.6 billion in 2017, a rise of 2%. (Forbes)
#23. Adidas saw the strongest growth in sneaker sales as a brand in the United States in 2017, with YoY sales rising by more than 50%. Two of their shoes made the Top 10 list of best-selling shoes in the U.S. in the last year. (Forbes)
Performance Apparel Industry Trends and Analysis
When all athletic apparel is considered, the performance apparel industry is forecast to reach total sales of over $230 billion by 2024. This would create a CAGR of 7%, with some segments seeing growth rates in double digits.
Shifts in consumer preferences have not held the performance apparel industry back from growth, as other apparel categories have experienced. There are three key differences which have allowed this industry to continue its overall growth pattern: adaptation, innovation, and pricing.
By shifting manufacturing processes to the Asia-Pacific region, many performance apparel manufacturers have been able to keep prices static for consumers while encouraging stronger profits. New innovations, such as ClimaCool apparel, have created strong levels of industry from the current customer base, while encouraging new consumers to try their products for the first time.
Because women in the U.S. control up to $15 trillion in total purchasing power, expect a larger push in the next 5 years by the industry toward this segment. With its strong foundation, as long as the major manufacturers continue to seek out innovative solutions, there is nothing present that would slow down this industry from its recent patterns of growth.