'Athleisure' Trend Takes Over Men's Wardrobes Too

NPR reports that, For The Modern Man, The Sweatpant Moves Out Of The Gym, and into the office. The NPD group says sales of athleisure apparel were more than $35 billion in 2014, and that athletic apparel now makes up 17% of the entire American clothing market. Almost half of people who buy activewear say they use it for non-​active purposes now.

This trend has been in effect for women for several years, with the likes of Lululemon yoga pants on legs all over the country. What's interesting, is that the steep price tags have drifted over to men's wardrobes now.

"There is a lifestyle shift in play," NPD analyst Marshal Cohen said. Customers are choosing the style, he said, "whether they are active or not. Almost half of people who buy activewear say they use it for non-​active purposes: traveling, dining out, shopping and going to work."

"From luxe designers to discount chains, retailers are adapting their brands or launching new lines to compete for space in the sizzling market. The Wall Street Journal reports that some estimates predict the U.S. athletic apparel market will increase by nearly 50% by 2020, even as Americans participate in fewer sports."

And now men are willing to pay upwards of $200 for a pair of designer sweat pants. "As far as who wears fancy men's sweatpants, Tyler Kantor, store manager of the Bonobos Guideshop La Brea in Los Angeles, says it's all types of guys," according to the NPR story. "You're going have your fashion-​forward guy, specifically looking for the jogger-​type sweat," he says. "And then you have the customer who, it catches their eyes." Kantor says there's a third type of customer who "we get to really guide them towards the sweat and get them out of their comfort zone."

"What you often end up with is a guy who is perhaps on his way to the office, but he's gonna stop at the gym beforehand, so he's got on a pair of sweatpants, but maybe he's got a blazer over his sweatpants, because he doesn't want to put the blazer in a gym bag. And he's got a parka over the blazer. And maybe instead of wearing his usual workout shoes, he's got on a pair of high-​end sneakers. And so you ended up with this kind of [mix-​match] of a wardrobe, simply out of necessity and convenience."

Be sure to highlight this trend with any of your men's clothing retailers because 51% of consumers are out there shopping for men's apparel this year. According to AudienceSCAN research, 23% of them fall into the millennial shopping cart. It also makes sense that these shoppers would go straight from the office to a game, so the athleisure trend applies to the 51% of this audience that enjoys attending sporting events in person.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.