The Australian apparel and footwear industry grew 1% to reach AU$23 billion, according to new data from Euromonitor International.

Euromonitor International consultant Julia Illerasaid sportswear saw the strongest growth, driven by the athleisure trend.

"In response to the strong demand for activewear, a growing number of apparel brands have extended their profile to include athleisure apparel.

"Local swimwear brand, Tigerlily for example launched its athleisure range in May 2017, featuring printed leggings and sports bra. In September 2017, Stylerunner, a local internet retailer for activewear launched its first range of athleisure apparel, New Guard featuring logo tees and bell-sleeved sweatshirts.”

In 2017, international and local fast fashion brands continued to expand store footprints in areas outside capital cities to capture consumers living in suburban areas.

Fast fashion brands in 2017 such as Cotton On and H&M opened 31 and six new outlets respectively.

H&M also announced that new stores will be opened in the upcoming year in Adelaide and Tasmania.

In the sportswear category, international retailers, Decathlon and JD Sports opened its first stores in Australia in 2017, responding to consumers’ demand for fashionable sportswear.”

Over the next five years, the apparel and footwear industry is expected to experience strong growth, particularly from the sportswear and childrenswear categories.

Athleisure is set to continue to be the driving force in the sportswear category and the growing number of older parents who have greater financial stability are more willing to purchase high quality clothing for their children will support the childrenswear category.

Illera said that in the apparel, footwear and sportswear category, internet retailing is expected to be a key channel in driving sales.

“Consumers will become increasingly accustomed to shopping online through websites and mobile applications. As a result, a growing number of apparel and footwear retailers are expected to offer products in these channels to remain relevant.

"A seamless shopping experience between online platforms and physical stores facilitated by mobile applications and services such as same day delivery and ‘click and collect’ will be new norms rather than differentiators between brands."

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