Hollywood hunk Chris Hemsworth's muscles in Thor, Jennifer Lawrence's toned athletic muscles, Gwen Stefani's envious abs... the list of celebs with fit and fabulous bodies is endless. People refuse to buy the norm that looks don't matter. So, there's no surprise to catch sight of regular office goers, homemakers or college students making constant attempts to appear visually appealing.

The health industry also loves to crow about regular workouts to remain hale and hearty. Thus, the pressure on the ordinary person to sweat the flab out is mountain, leading to a rise in gym memberships and outdoor activities. Apart from the obvious signs of good physical health, customers are also eyeing clothing designed for outdoor activities. After all, good looks are as much about presentation as they are about physical features, and it is easier to look better and feel healthier with the right clothes.

Exuberant global growth

Sports apparel brands are committed to provide a wide ambit of merchandise packed with features such as superior performance and contemporary designs. The current market position of global sports apparel is a result of rapid sales growth, a strong competitive stand and exhaustive launches of innovative products. According to estimates of Boston-based research firm Trefis, the global sports apparel market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1 per cent in the seven-year period through to 2019 and reach US $ 178 billion by the end of 2019. The niche players in this segment are banking on the opportunities that are the direct result of growing fitness consciousness, rising income levels in developing countries and the popularity of chic sportswear.

The sportswear market has also witnessed a shift in demand in the last five years. Besides style, consumers are setting their sights on higher fitness performance. So, the shelves are making way for the next generation of clothing that monitor heart rate and track postures. Add to that list odour control fabrics, temperature control fabrics and similar smart textiles.

In the august company of these smart fabrics is compression wear. It includes figure-hugging clothing designed to apply pressure on specific parts of the body. They can be spotted on the sports apparel shelves of retail shops and on online sites. The transformation of compression wear from its use for medical purposes to making its way into sports apparel and cosmetic purposes can be attributed to a shift in focus of brands from modish style to enhanced performance.

Where is the compression?

Compression wear applies pressure to underlying veins. This, in turn, speeds up blood flow and increases the rate of oxygen delivery to muscles. Compression wear sports garments are designed to prevent common problems associated with exercise.

A report released by business intelligence provider GBI Research predicts that the global market for compression wear will grow at a CAGR of 5.1 per cent and reach US $3.4 billion in 2019. Factors such as increasing use of sportswear, rising cases of venous disease due to chronic wounds, a growing elderly population, diabetes and repeated wound trauma are driving up the demand for compression wear. The dynamic design of compression wear helps in boosting performance during exercise training, delays muscle fatigue, avoids muscle tears and injuries, and maximises muscle recovery between sessions.