A general shift in the emphasis, stay healthy and being slim and trim, has taken consumers by a storm. With rise in reasons to stay fit and taking pleasure in adventure sports becoming a lifestyle for many, the market for outdoor and performance apparel is destined to grow. Sports and fitness clothing has become a staple for health conscious customers around the world. The clothes in this category are not only getting functional and versatile, but also stylish by each passing day.

The biggest markets for performance apparel are U.S, where the market is worth more than $ 6.5 billion, and Europe, where the market is worth $ 12 billion. The markets for outdoor apparel in countries like U.S, Europe, and Japan are focused to attract aging but active population, while markets in emerging economies of Asia and Latin America are targeting young population. Asia Pacific except Australia and New Zealand are going to be potential markets for outdoor apparel, especially China, Hong Kong, and India. A growth rate of 4% is expected in these countries every year.



The market for outdoor clothing is soon shifting its center to women, a large section of customers that still remain untapped. U.S, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France are the largest exporters of outdoor apparel, while Germany, U.K, and Scandinavian countries especially Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland rank first in terms of per capita purchases of outdoor apparels.

There are a few major trends that the outdoor apparel sector has been witnessing to fulfill growing needs of customers. Compression technology is one of them. Compression in outdoor clothing offers much more than the myth of tight or skin fit. It provides the right pressure, by improving the muscle power of the wearer and increasing the supply of oxygen in the body.

These garments create a microclimate between the skin and the fabric, by regulating the temperature and managing the moisture content. Clothes made for compression help in preserving energy of the wearer. This technology is gaining increased importance in the shapewear cum work-out wear sector for the figure conscious markets. Besides track suits, manufacturers also make socks, leggings, and pants to keep wearers active all day long.

Fabrics that keep moisture away and the wearer dry have been used in outdoor wear since quite some time now. Today, synthetic fibres are used along with cotton blends and better finishes, to make fabrics finer and softer. Manufacturers are trying to treat synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester in a way to tenderize the fibres and to give a luxurious feel to the garment.

Another department in which outdoor apparel companies are excelling is, by creating anti-bacterial and anti-odor garments. The natural quality of wool to evade bacteria makes it the most obvious choice for such clothes; besides the former, silver is used in fabrics with the help of nanotechnology to keep clothes bacteria-free and odor free. It is used to create socks for active wear, undergarments, and undershirts that can be worn all day long for outdoor activities and work. Outdoor apparels with sophisticated technologies like these are growing to be extremely functional.

Companies are creating garments that can be worn at work, gym, and even at home. Customers want a single outfit that they can wear just about anywhere. This has led to more purposeful outdoor wear; for example, by removing the sleeves of a jacket, an individual can work-out in the vest; a working mother can go running in the same pair of pants, which she wore to work.

The outdoor apparel industry also has active wear for green crusaders, and keeps the rise in demand of sustainable products in knowledge. Clothes made up of bamboo, wool, soy, and coconut fibres are used to provide the same functionality of outdoor wear like that with synthetic fabrics. The eco-conscious design of outdoor apparels is proving to be a big hit, especially among young consumers.

Outdoor apparel manufacturers are now working closely with fashion designers to make active wear stylish and trendy. Fitness clothing is getting fashionable; manufacturers want to offer something new and innovative to attract their customers. The teenage and baby boomers are potential markets for fashionable outdoor wear, and are expected to drive the consumption of these garments.

The future of active wear is integrating gadgets and their outdoor activities, not just to display performance of an individual like monitoring heart rate while running, but also to convert physical motion and energy into power for running small electronic devices. Moreover, outdoor apparel manufacturers attempt to make garments that can increase energy frequencies of the wearer like that in performance bracelets, worn by athletes and sportspersons.

With new advancements and newer requirements of customers, outdoor apparels are being increasingly flexible and functional. This has made the market for outdoor clothing extremely competitive and extensive. The diminishing lines between sportswear and outdoor wear have opened up new avenues for brands and companies to explore!


1. Ideafit.com

2. Ibtpartners.com

3. Prweb.com

4. Cnbc.com

Image Courtesy:

1. Treehugger.com

2. Vintagevogue07.com