The Sportswear Industry

The sportswear industry experienced a huge increase in demand when wearing sports clothing became fashionable as casual wear rather than just for playing sport. This was excellent for sportswear manufacturers who saw an increase in profits and also where able to sell sports clothing to a larger scale than before. The main players in the industry also help increase sales and have made sportswear fashionable. Players like David Beckham, Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, Tim Henman and others have helped the industry by appearances in advertisements and also by a sports company sponsoring the player.

These days there have started to be lots of multinational manufactures, which are companies that operate in many countries over the world. These multinationals are able to supply as well as manufacture a wide variety of products to consumers and professional sports people. There are also many other small manufactures that do not usually carry a brand name so people do not recognise them easily. For the manufactures to be successful in sending their products to lots of areas of a region there are many retailers in the industry to do this.

Such retailers as JJB, JD, Foot Locker and others are able to sell a large variety of clothing to the consumers. Alongside these chain stores, that have more than one store and operate in different areas, there are many other independent shops that are mainly sole traders such as Northern Runner. These sorts of retailers can have geographical monopolies as their only compition being mail orders through Internet and postal orders. The internet has also been able to break some of these geographically monopolies as the internet can give cheaper prices for same goods and can also show a larger range and variety of goods.

This is not good for geographical monopolies. The sportswear industry has been firmly established since the 1980s, even though the ‘athleisure’ look is no longer fashionable or popular. The ‘athleisure’ look which is the athletic and leisure look has not been very popular as it used to these days, instead consumers are now more interested in footwear and clothing rather than an athletic look. The consumers now look for more leisurewear rather than an athletic look.

In the industry now there are three main brands that are global companies, with production in the East, which are able to provide leisurewear and also keep up with the consumers wants. These companies are Adidas from Europe and Nike and Reebok from the US. There are also other indigenous companies which are companies more specialised in a particular sport and are only found in a particular country or place. Such U. K indigenous companies are being led by Umbro, Hi-Tec sports. Speedo, Mitre, Ellesse and other indigenous companies can be found mainly in the U. K.

Because of all these brand names the retail industry has been forced into consolidation, i. e. into one, as there are too many small sports shops and consumers usually go to a well-known retailer as they would be able to provide most and nearly all brand name sportswear clothes and footwear. There are two main large retailers emerging as they consolidate, JJB Sports plc (leading for sports fashion) and Blacks Leisure Group PLC (leading in outdoor retailing). These companies are able to hope for good profits in the future as the consumer trends are helping to see the sports clothing market to grow.

Although current fashion trends have moved away from the ‘sporty look’, the demand for a healthy lifestyle is permanent and also a steady shift to keep fit activities are helping the market to grow. At the moment the biggest name in the sportswear industry is Nike with 43% of the US industry which is expected to grow and 23% of the overseas industry. Even though Nikes domestic market share is much higher compared to the overseas market is still said to be the biggest name in the industry.

The overseas market share is quite low as they are facing competition from Adidas as they are from Europe and hold quite a good share there. This is why there is an opportunity for growth in the overseas market as they have already established there name. In order to do this Nike is using English football clubs. It is using them by having there brand name on there kits and also by sponsoring a team so the consumers would become aware that Nike are associated with football which is one of the two sports to target in the U. K as they are very popular to the public.

At the moment Nike are in trouble in the US market as a new compition has arisen that target teenagers who are described as ‘internet-surfing latchkey kids’. This market is not interested in team sports but is mainly targeted to individual sports such as snowboarding, surfing and mountain biking. Such companies as Vans, Oneill and others are becoming a threat to Nike. This market has not yet established in the U. K but Nike should consider looking into the new market as it may become popular as the Vans company grew form a small US firm to become the third largest company in the market for snowboarding boots.

Big players who are competing against others are now researching for the best companies for there sports clothing. It is important that this is done as they will need the best clothing for their sport which is able to help in that sport. This important because in a race you would look for the most aerodynamically designed clothing and the lightest so it does not slow you down. This is why big players in the sports industry use research and development to beat the competition by working with a company.

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