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Athleisure Dominates Growing Menswear Market

As the menswear market grows, athleisure styles are taking the majority of the new business.

At Cowen and Company’s Men-at-Work Summit, Arham Choudhury, an industry analyst for The NPD Group, said that men’s apparel was up 3.2% over a five-year study period, and athleisure was the industry’s mega trend with 8.1% growth.

“When most people think of the word athleisure they think of women’s yoga pants. But a similar trend is happening on the men’s side as well. Not as much yoga pants, but athletic pants in general are definitely taking share away from jeans,” Choudhury said.

Men’s active pants took 24 basis points per share from every other category, while men’s jeans went down 9 basis points.

Though some have been claiming that denim is failing, Choudhury went on to explain that jeans are in fact making a comeback by adapting to athleisure. Choudhury said, “A lot of people were wondering, are jeans as a category dead overall?” He added, “Jeans as a category are not dead, but they have done a good job of redefining themselves or reimagining their product in light of athleisure trends.”

Choudhury said that this athleisure trend is made evident with SKUs showing words like “relaxed,” “stretch” and “jogging” in the product descriptions. He commented that brands such as Wrangler and Levi’s really fought being overtaken by the athleisure trend and now Wrangler is up 1.8% year-over-year and Levi’s is up 2.2%.

Brand-specific athleisure may, however, be reaching a plateau. Choudhury illustrated this point with the example of athletic tops sold by Nike and Under Armour. Though these brands had been taking share from the rest of the market, the year-over-year growth of this category has now dipped into the single digits and negatives.