Lingerie brands get active in the activewear category
The activewear market has seen an upswing with the growing fitness consciousness amongst consumers.
Owing to sluggish sales in the lingerie category, brands such as Clovia, Enamor and Jockey are shifting focus to activewear and athleisure wear. According to analysts, while consumers were buying lingerie every three months in the pre-Covid period, the purchase cycle has now become six months. To make up for this, Jockey introduced a range called Jockey Move in September last year, and both Clovia and Enamor have renewed their activewear and athleisure portfolios.
The activewear market has seen an upswing with the growing fitness consciousness amongst consumers. Experts estimate that the market for branded sportswear in India is valued at Rs 12,000-14,000 crore, and is growing twice as fast as the apparel market. As the impact of the pandemic recedes, experts predict that the activewear market would grow at 25-30% year-on-year.
In the past year, brands have changed their approach towards the activewear category, with the focus now on everyday wear. Jockey has positioned its latest range to cater to ‘everyday fitness enthusiasts’, while Enamor is centred around ‘throughout the day’.
Meanwhile, Clovia’s soon-to-be-launched activewear range addresses the ‘workout from home’ need. The company had entered the activewear category in 2019, but due to “pressure on working capital”, could not launch new products. After raising a new round of funding in December 2020, the company plans to introduce a bigger catalogue for activewear.
“Since we are new in the activewear category, we will focus on retailing it out of our 13 exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) and e-commerce platforms,” informs Neha Kant, founder and director, Clovia. The company claims its activewear category has grown by 15 times since March 2020.
Enamor, too, has doubled down its efforts on the activewear category over the past year, since its acquisition by Advent International in late 2019. The PE firm also has a controlling stake in men’s innerwear company Dixcy Textiles.
“Activewear and athleisure now contribute about 18-20% of our sales as compared to 10-12% in the pre-Covid times,” says Sunil Sethi, executive chairman, Gokaldas Intimatewear, the company that owns brand Enamor. The company is promoting and retailing its activewear and athleisure wear across all its physical retail touchpoints (multi-brand outlets and EBOs) as well as on e-commerce.
Both Clovia and Enamor have priced their products in the mid-premium segment — Rs 400-2000. Enamor, which gets the majority of its sales for the category from tier I towns, is looking to expand its presence in tier II towns and beyond through e-commerce and store expansion.
The activewear market in India is highly competitive; besides sports brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Asics and Decathlon, private labels from retail giants such as Future Group’s fbb, Reliance Trends and Myntra, also have a presence in it.
Analysts are of the opinion that the mid-premium positioning of the activewear range by Enamor and Clovia give them an edge over the sports giants, who operate in the premium segment — upwards of Rs 1,500.
However, their brand image could come in the way. According to Madhur Singhal, MD, Praxis Global Alliance, due to their “sensuous and stylish positioning”, consumers do not associate these brands with sports and activities. “These brands should look at creating sub-brands to cater to the activewear segment, while at the same time not diluting their core,” he adds.
Industry watchers point out that a presence in multi-brand outlets is vital in reaching out to value-conscious consumers. Further, roping in a fitness enthusiast celebrity or influencer — like Calvin Klein did by bringing actor Disha Patani aboard — would help in building awareness.