The last decade has witnessed the emergence of sportswear as one of the biggest trends. Its variants like athleisure, streetwear, athluxury and now performance wear are trending in the apparel space. Research by Global Sportswear Market reflects a robust growth at CAGR of 5.80 per cent from 2018 to 2023. Backed by an enormous population base, growing disposable incomes, more casual workplaces as well as a rising consciousness for health, sportswear giants have built a strong base in the country. Moreover, the popularity of activities like trekking, hiking, and yoga amongst the youth, there is a market for every type of active wear brand in the country now.
Indian sportswear segment reported 23.7 per cent CAGR from 2011-2016 while the forecast for 2016-2021 is set at 11.3 per cent, according to Euromonitor. This growth will be led by smaller labels as they are filling the gaps for more localised demands, working on indigenous issues like sizing, and have a much quicker response rate or sensitivity to changing consumer lifestyles.
Tapping the growth momentum, Alcis Sportswear, the biggest homegrown sportswear brand, is expecting a 7X jump in revenue from last year to reach Rs 28 crore by the end of FY2018. Besides Alcis, there are plenty of younger sports and performance wear brands experimenting with everything from risqué sports bras to workout apparel made from bamboo shoots to cater to India’s growing thirst for functional fashion. Aneesha Labroo’s women’s active wear brand Kica identified a gap in the market for stylish and high quality affordable products and launched the work out essentials brand a year ago. The brand sells everything from sports bras, tank tops to joggers and jackets in form-enhancing, moisture wicking fabrics. She uses details like cut-outs, mesh inserts or bright colours and with new product dropping almost every two weeks.
New brands chalk out growth plans
Labroo initially launched Kica online, along with a pop-up in Delhi’s Select Citywalk for six months and recently opened her first store in nearby mall, DLF Promenade. However, her focus will be on online expansion as they are witnessing promising sales all over the country from e-commerce, with a big enough average basket size. Besides, they will also be expanding offline through different gyms/studios as marketing channels. On the other hand, Mumbai-based Athlos’ assortment consists of active training basics for both men and women with a range of T-shirts, training shorts and a work out towel. The brand uses materials made from bamboo or eucalyptus fibres for benefits such as skin-tight softness, four-way stretch, quick drying and odour prevention. In order to keep up with the growing competition, the brand aims to launch a new product every 30 days to keep the momentum going.
Menswear label Greyy Basics’ collection, though very ‘basic’ in appearance, offers properties of UPF 50+ UV protection and anti-odour technology, and is made from Supima cotton. Only a year old, the brand already boasts of having sold in 21 states in India through e-commerce and over 15 MBOs in the domestic retail market as well as shipping to 16 countries abroad. Bengaluru-based Turmswear has added the feather of stain-repellence to its hat and has grand plans of expansion.
Offering a range of jeans, t-shirts and joggers that come in a package of all of the performance properties available in the market, the brand has crossed Rs30 million in sales from only domestic sales. The brand will soon unveil 3-4 entirely new technologies in their next product drop. They will be launching cooling fabrics and oil wicking concepts very soon. The company is excited about its energy recovery and 4X tech that combines all the anti-stain and moisture concepts into one and will be launched as soon as end of 2018 or early 2019.