Gen Z and the rise of athleisure wear

Walk down just about any city street these days, and you’re almost guaranteed to pass at least a few people in sportswear. Whether they’re on their way to an exercise class, a game of sport or simply to meet friends at a café is immaterial: thanks to the ‘athleisure’ trend, active-wear is now a viable fashion choice whether exercise is involved or not. And according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, sales of sportswear are on the up-and-up.

Some 1.6 million Australians (8.1% of the population) buy men’s and/or women’s sportswear in an average four-week period, up from 1.3 million (7.0%) in 2011. This represents an extra 300,000 people purchasing this kind of clothing per four weeks.

Not surprisingly, the dollar-value of the sportswear market has also increased in this time. Between October 2010 and September 2011, Australians spent $1.1 billion on sportswear; as of September 2016, they are parting with $1.5 billion per year.

While Generation X accounts for the largest share (31.6%) of total dollars spent on sportswear, this is considerably less than their share back in 2011 (35.9%). In contrast, Generation Z’s contribution to Australia’s total annual outlay on sportswear has almost doubled in the same period, from 14.2% to 26.4%.

Proportion of total $ spent per year on sportswear: by generation


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), Oct 2010-Sep 2011 (n=18,483) and Oct 2015-Sep 2016 (n=13,769).

Of course, back in 2011, Gen Z was aged between six and 20 years old; flash forward to 2016, and they’re now between 11 and 25, so there are more of them in the market for sportswear. Baby Boomers are the only other generation that have grown their share of the total dollars spent on sportswear (currently, they account for 18.6% of total dollars spent, up slightly on 17.9% in 2011).

While it’s becoming more common for people to wear this kind of clothing even when they aren’t practicing some kind of sport or exercise, Roy Morgan data shows that more than 75% of Australian active-wear buyers have played sport or done some kind of formal exercise (eg. gym training, aerobics) in the last three months, making them 29% more likely than the average Aussie to do so.

However, anyone who has passed by a café full of lycra- and legging-clad patrons won’t be surprised to learn that people who buy sportswear are 17% more likely than the average Aussie to go to a café for coffee or tea in any given three-month period, averaging almost seven visits in that time (compared with the national average of five visits)!

Feature image source

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