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Boost in US athleisurewear sector

From higher interest in physical well-being globally and by increased participation by women in sports and other fitness activities, the athleisurewear category has had a boost. In the United States, Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, and Lululemon Athletica have seen sales and prices for performance apparel and activewear rise. Spending at more mainstream men’s and women’s clothing and accessories stores appears to have borne most of the brunt of the tilt toward athleisurewear, with spending trends declining steadily in the last five years.

Dollar value growth in the sports apparel category appears to have come from both higher selling prices and higher unit sales. Higher prices have been the stronger driver. As activewear companies have continued to innovate, they’ve also been able to raise prices, particularly for more prominent brands such as Nike, Lululemon, Under Armour, and Adidas.

In the US activewear space, the number-one and number-two players are Nike and Under Armour.1 These two companies have seen apparel sales mushroom over the past five years. Nike’s apparel sales in the North America segment2 have more than doubled, from $2.1 billion in fiscal 2011 to $4.4 billion in fiscal 2015. Under Armour’s global apparel sales have increased from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $2.8 billion in 2015. Most of the growth has come from the US market.

The number-three company in the US athleisurewear market is Hanesbrands, which had $1.6 billion in activewear sales in 2015.Nike, Under Armour, and Hanesbrands together constitute 4.7 per cent of the portfolio holdings of the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund.