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Does Beyoncé’s Ivy Park Stand a Chance in the Oversaturated Activewear Market?

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

Ivy Park, the activewear and athleisure brand co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles and Topshop titan Sir Philip Green, launches online and in stores on Thursday. And, like most things the female powerhouse touches, it’s expected to hit a home run.

But while the 200-piece collection includes both technical sportswear, like sweat-wicking and non-pilling leggings in three rises, and fashion-led casualwear, like logo-heavy sweatshirts, it’s entering a market that already has its fair share of famous faces promoting performance lines. (See: Kate Hudson for Fabletics; Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign with H&M; Rihanna and Puma.)

According to Edited, Ivy Park’s initial run will have enough novelty to be a quick win for all involved, but long-term success—at prices ranging $30-$200—won’t be that easy. Using data gathered from the womenswear market in the United Kingdom and the United States, the retail technology firm highlighted what the line is up against.

Joggers and sweatpants

After years of squeezing into skinny jeans, more women are opting for the comfort of casual bottoms, and Edited has noted 7 percent more athleisure joggers on sale in the U.S. and UK since the start of April compared to one year ago.

However, 36 percent of those offered at retail are currently discounted by an average of 36 percent. “That’s a lot higher than you could reasonably expect for a trend considered alive and well,” the firm said, but pointed out that 13 percent of sell-out styles are replenished and of all pairs on the market, 23 percent have had their price increased.

With that being said, nearly half (49 percent) of what’s available is sold in mass-market stores, with Forever 21 holding the biggest share at 2.3%, followed by Boohoo (1.9%) and Adidas (1.7%).

Running shorts

“As the northern hemisphere slowly siphons the daylight, warm weather and ability to eat meals on terraces from the southern hemisphere, running shorts are set to have a great summer,” Edited said.

Numbers have shown a 7.3% increase in women’s running short offerings in the U.S. and UK since the year began. The styles take 29 days to sell out, on average, and 31 percent of all available pairs are discounted by more than a third (38 percent).

Again, 44 percent retail in the mass market.

Hoodies

Edited has seen more than 1,700 athleisure hoodies launch for women in the U.S. and UK since Mar. 1.

“At a pretty steady rate of 1,000 new womenswear hoodies dropping every month, getting noticed is going to be pretty hard, and holding that attention somewhat harder,” the firm said, noting new styles available have increased 53 percent since January and 25 percent since March.

The good news for Ivy Park, perhaps, is that no one brand or retailer is the far and away leader: Superdry holds 5 percent market share, while Nike, Adidas and Forever 21 each have 3 percent.

On the price side of things, 33 percent of all available hoodies are discounted by an average of 34 percent, while 21 percent have seen their prices increased.

Sports bras

Sports bras are big business. According to data compiled by Edited, the combined U.S. and UK offering has almost doubled since the start of 2016. Moreover, of those styles available, 22 percent have had their prices increase.

The category also has the highest replenishment rate in athleisure at 15 percent, and there are as many sports bras priced below $20 as there are between $20 and $40.

So, while the Ivy Park website (which won’t actually have any styles for sale) calls the collection “strong beyond measure,” it remains to be seen if that claim holds true at retail.

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