Indian Activewear Market Grows Amid Pandemic

Despite closed gyms and outdoor sports, the activewear segment is surging in demand.


The activewear market in India had initially anticipated going through a rough patch because of the bleak scenario of gyms, dance-fitness centers, various outdoor competitions like – marathons and hiking as the pandemic nudged people to stay indoors impeding the out-of-home consumption.  But to the industry’s surprise, the activewear market in India is outperforming the fast-fashion, ethnic wear, and formal footwear segment ever since the onset of covid. Though, as per ICRA fast-fashion brands are set to show a growth of 23-25 percent starting from a low base in 2021-22, it is far from pre-covid levels. According to a report by Research and Markets, the revenue of the activewear market was witnessing steady growth since the last decade. Currently, the activewear market is estimated to reach Rs 997.8 billion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.59 percent. 

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As per a report from Research and Markets, the activewear market is estimated to reach Rs 997.8 billion by 2024, and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.59 percent. 

What is driving the growth? 

The shift towards digital fitness

Closed doors of gym and fitness centres have led people to make a part of their dwelling as work-out space and are enrolling in DIY home workout from digital fitness apps such as Curefit and Adidas Runstatic, and live virtual workouts with fitness influencers. As per Gympik’s Fitness Behaviour survey, 84 percent of the fitness enthusiasts tried live-streaming fitness classes at least thrice during the lockdown. Millennials between the age group 25 -34 years of age are adopting digital fitness that is propelling the growth of activewear.

Influx of women into fitness

Owning a healthy lifestyle and a fit body is taking precedence in women. Women are aspiring to have an athletic body or become the next fitness influencer by taking up high-intensity interval training cardio workouts, abs workouts, zumba, aerobics, and pilates that require perfectly fitting activewear that goes fluid with the body movements. In the survey conducted by Gympik, 60 percent of fitness enthusiasts were women who expressed willingness towards digital fitness. Also, as per RedSeer’s report, the female intimate wear segment comprising branded mid- premium innerwear and branded athleisure will be a market worth $ 2.5 billion by 2025. 

Activewear is the new casual wear

The boundaries of casual wear and activewear are blurring in remote working since people are prioritizing comfort. Puma is witnessing good demand in activewear like running t-shirts, track pants, shorts, etc. Zivame, a women-only online lingerie platform is experiencing demand in cotton leggings, track pants, T-shirts, shorts, etc. Hrithik -owned athleisure brand HRX is receiving a demand in loose and oversized athleisure particularly in loose t-shirts and oversized joggers. 

What are Activewear Brands doing to sell? 

While retail shops and malls wear a deserted look, activewear brands are devising strategies to reach customers directly. Companies are generating orders through WhatsApp and are ensuring quick deliveries. Global sportswear retailer Puma is taking orders through WhatsApp, sharing e-catalogues, offering virtual reality tours of the store, and booking appointments on its website for store visits. Zivame is rolling out a guided shopping experience resembling a store. Zivame’s retail store staff offer shopping assistance through WhatsApp with delivery directly to the footsteps. Its Fitcode feature helps the consumer find the appropriate fit and recommend styles suitable to the body frame within the comfort of home, thus elevating the consumer experience. 

Brands foraying into the activewear segment

For many small and medium activewear brands, the consumer’s shift towards digital fitness will prove to be beneficial as now people are conscious about the cons of a sedentary lifestyle which will draw more demand. 

Several global and national clothing brands are emphasizing on to build the activewear segment. Jockey has launched its latest activewear range catering to everyday fitness enthusiasts. Clovia, a women’s lingerie brand will soon be rolling out its activewear range addressing the ‘workout from home’ need. Nykaa too has launched its activewear segment for women under the ‘Nykd’ label and has made activewear available in Nykaa Man as well.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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