Water is the source of inspiration for many and today there are several people around the globe who enjoy water sports, recreational activities that involve water and there are many who prefer exercising in water. Now, if water is so important, it inevitably makes 'what one wears in water' significant. There are beaches, pools, water amusement parks, waterfalls and so many places where leisure is priority. At these places, a perfect swimwear guarantees respite from the mundane. Today, designers and brands are especially designing swimwear, bearing in mind the needs of people, both in terms of style and cost.
In case of garments, everything from patterns, designs and colours are available in plethora around the globe, and this involves swimwear as well. The swimsuits with right cuts that are totally figure-flattering and have supportive halter-straps top coupled with high-waist, belly taming bottoms, are in vogue. Checks, florals, polka dots (both big and small) along with oversized stripes are the patterns to flaunt.
For men, swim briefs or speedo-styles, classic board shorts, trunk shorts in block-colours and printed pattern styles will stay for a long time. These designs are being cut slightly shorter and narrower through the leg that makes them look trendy and cooler than ever. Conventionally, board shorts have always been all about the vivid and bright colours and patterns. Fortunately, this is what men should look for, as the patterns are same for both the genders as far as prints are concerned.
The colour is equally vital while selecting the swimming costume. Colours including pastels, neons, aquatic blue, greens and black must be watched out for. Solids are cute, but the most famous of the global designers are offering stripes and patterns dyed in pastels too. These colours give sharpness to the designs and patterns used in the swimwear.
The designing houses are also full of tribal patterns, digital prints and geometric designs. These patterns and designs are not limited to just the daily wear, but it has been extended to bathing suits or swimwear also. Boisterous tribal prints that are mostly available in earthy colours and have adventurous side are popular. Digital prints are available in vintage art, as well as, straight out of photo realist reproductions. The mathematical prints including triangles, octagons, squares (which are not necessarily perfect) are also in vogue. The mismatched bikinis, where the top and the bottom are not alike are not a fashion faux pas, at least not this season. It's fine to go berserk with the colours. Mixing florals, checks or animal prints are wilder options available in the global market.
Today, as opposed to the earlier era, swimsuits are available in various fabrics. Though, nylon and lycra are by far the most favourite of the designers, there are other fabrics too that have gained popularity.
Nylon is one of the strongest fibers, and due to its lightweight structure, it has great fitting and dries faster than other fabrics. Nylon is what the swimwear markets are usually full of. However, the poor resistance to prolonged sun exposure, which makes the dye fade and the fabric ragged, some designers, prefer other fabrics. Like there are swimming costumes available in cotton, which are cute, but following ill-fitting and fragility makes cotton a bad choice in chlorine water. Polyester is another option available. Though it is a very common fabric for general apparel, it is not widely used fabric in swimwear. Unlike nylon, polyester is not very strong or lightweight.
Apart from these fabrics, spandex, which is popularly known as Lycra is a vital component of nearly every swimsuit. The exceptional elasticity and stretch of the Lycra offer a slimming, form-fitting appearance and feel. However, the spandex fibre in its pure form can be itchy and uncomfortable, due to which it is mostly mixed with other fabrics and is available in certain percentage in the fabrics for greater elasticity. The designers prefer to use more percentage of spandex in the swimsuits that intend on making the wearer look slimmer. Regrettably, spandex is not good with chlorine and also its elasticity diminishes after prolonged exposure to the chlorine. In general, it is best to find a swimsuit that provides an acceptable amount of coverage and stretch. A nylon/spandex blend is what the designers all over the world prefer for swimwear, as it is a perfect mixture of durability, comfort, and stretch.
The target market of swimwear is usually young and fun loving, which is why the designs and colours are all bold. Designers and designing houses, have to bear in mind the colour, pattern and fabric, while designing the swimwear. It is to be designed in a way that the target customers feel comfortable and also good about themselves. The fabric is particularly crucial here, as it gives the right shape to the wearers body. Wearer must feel that they are in their second skin. This is likely to help the labels attract more customers.
The niche market targets sportspersons involved in water sports for obvious reasons. Motorboat dealers are also a target market, as the clich image involves an attractive woman in swimwear endorsing the brand. Some brands have explored the fishing industry, as the fishing guys prefer boardshorts over any other ordinary wear. Lifeguards also prefer a trendy swimwear over clumsy ones. The youngsters including teenagers, college-goers, models etc. are the obvious buyers of swimwear. Those involved in workouts involving water like water yoga or swimming, also tend to be finicky about the costume they wear. Comfort, appearance and cost are some of the important factors that the target customers look for.
On the face of it, swimwear market appears to be easy to tap, however, reality is little different. The customers are confined to a particular age group and this limits the sale. Nevertheless, the scenario will be changed soon, as the companies, especially in Europe, are keen on increasing the spectrum of target customers.
The Western world is promoting swimming as a relaxing past time for the elderly and also the elderly ladies are being encouraged to garb in figure supporting and enhancing swimming costumes. The swimming costume manufacturers have also witnessed a leap in the online sales as against the traditional retailing.
As per a survey conducted in Europe, 63 percent of swimwear is bought for leisure activities and the remaining 37 percent for sports purpose. Women account for 54 percent of the sales, men 29 percent and children 17 percent. Men are more price sensitive than women, opting for function first but with an increasing emphasis on aesthetics. Men shell out an average € 21.4 for swimwear purchases. Women are interested in comfort, but aesthetics, fit, and the 'I'm worth it' factor also play a pivotal role, with an estimated € 27.2 paid for these purposes. The 45 plus woman is the biggest spender, paying on an average € 31. By country, German women dole out the most for their swimwear (€ 31.6), followed by Italy (€ 30.5), France (€ 28.3), then Spain (€ 23.4) and finally the UK, where women only spend an average 18. Sales in France are stable, while Italys sales are declining. The markets in Spain, Germany and the UK are all showing growth.
Europe and the United States rule the international swimwear and beachwear market, as stated by the new market research report on swimwear and beachwear market. The key factors involved in the swimwear and beachwear market include relaxed dress codes, awareness and interest in body care, social mobility, and better output delivery by textile industry. The emerging economic regions like the South East Asia and China are better prospective markets that will support growth of the swimwear market as the western swimwear habits gain hold in the developing nations. The global swimwear market has been forecast to reach a value of US $19.3 billion by 2018, following the popularity of swimming as a leisure activity and by the growing demand for innovative products such as UV protection swimsuits and thermal swimwear.
The swimwear market is growing, as apart from 'what one wears in pool/beach', the definition of swimwear now includes how people perceive the wearer. A decent growth is indicated, as far as swimwear market is concerned, as there is a huge market and several customers, who are waiting to try out funky and cool swimming costumes.