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Katharine Carter

January 30, 2022

What's Shaping The Sports Bra Market?

Find out which retailer has increased its pricing by 7%, which color has overtaken pink arrivals and who's stocking sustainable sports bras.

Following the rise of sports bras in-demand status across 2021 as both a workout and comfort piece, we explore what's the state of the market today, focusing on product trends, sustainability and pricing to help support planning decisions.

Read on to discover how to optimize your activewear range using Market Intelligence to make your business stand out in the saturated market. 

sports bra sales

Key Takeaways

• Aligning with women's apparel trends, green hues are more notable in this year's sports bra color mix compared to 2021. Khaki, olive and sage tones are most prominent.

• Seamless styles remain popular in 2022's ranges and new season campaigns. 53% of sports bras at boohoo are described as seam-free, while Marks & Spencer has introduced two reversible options.

• 29% of sports bras in the pure play active market are described as recycled. Both adidas and Athleta have grown their recycled ranges versus this time last year. In the mass market, recycled styles at H&M have ballooned 150% YoY.

• Amid rising material costs and strong consumer demand, UK active retailers are inflating their average selling prices. Gymshark's entry price has increased from £40 to £45, while PUMA's average price has uplifted by 14% and 19% in the US and UK, respectively, due to more collaborations retailing at a higher price.


Product Highlights

Green arrivals overtake pink

Mirroring trends in women's apparel, green tones have trickled into sports bra ranges. There are currently 99% more green products in stock YoY, with the shade accounting for 9% of the color mix versus 7% last year. Pink has remained level at 9% and is the fourth top-stocked color. While zesty Kelly Green shades are leading the way in apparel, khaki, olive and sage tones dominate sports bras. Suggesting lower demand, neons at Gap, Athleta and Gymshark are currently on markdown.

sports bra sales

Marks & Spencer introduces an extra high impact design

The retailer has grown its Goodmove active brand this year, with arrivals up 11%. New for SS22, M&S landed a new extra high impact sports bra (£28) featuring innovative cup technology and front adjusting straps for maximum support, created off the back of customer feedback. Next is the only other retailer to offer extra high impact with its antibounce bra (£32). This highlights an opportunity in the market to target customers seeking more supportive bras.

sports bra sales sports bra sales sports bra sales

Images via Marks & Spencer, @marksandspencer & Next

Are seamless styles still driving sell outs?

Buoyed by cult brands SKIMS and Gymshark, coupled with their appeal as a non-restrictive comfort piece, seamless styles gained huge traction in the mass market last year. The aesthetic remains prominent in 2022's buys, with 53% and 48% of sports bras at boohoo and PrettyLittleThing described as seamless, respectively. H&M has had particular success with its line of no-seam sports bras, which also includes multipacks. Marks & Spencer has introduced two reversible seamless options to its aforementioned Goodmove range for 2022, priced at £12. With wide consumer appeal, Forever 21, TALA and Free People have all pushed seam-free collections in new season emails.

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Images via H&M, Forever 21 & PrettyLittleThing
 

Sustainability In Focus

29% of sports bras in the pure play active market are recycled

Aligning with 2021's assortment, 29% of sports bras are listed as recycled in their product description, compared to 28% last year. Recycled products at adidas (US) have grown 27%, with all the sports bras in its new collaboration with Peloton produced from 79% recycled polyester. Athleta (US) currently has 13% more recycled styles retailing, utilizing recycled nylon and polyester. Last year Sweaty Betty was the sole retailer to stock bamboo products, however, this year, no retailers have invested in the fabric. Just Nike and Athleta stock products containing lyocell.

Sustainable keywords uplift 190% in the mass market

Mirroring the active market, recycled fabrics account for the majority of eco styles retailing at mass brands. H&M has contributed to this increase, with its recycled styles across the US and UK ballooning 150% YoY. Missguided has grown its recycled range of sports bras, with just nine options in stock last year compared to 23 in 2022. Garments typically contain 83% recycled polyester products from pre- or post-consumer waste. hush's SS22 line is made of 78% ECONYL® recycled polyamide, crafted from regenerated nylon sourced from discarded plastic waste.

sports bra sales  sports bra sales sports bra sales
Images via Missguided, Gymshark & Hush
 

The DTC Sustainable Brands To Know

Boody

Styles are crafted from organically-grown bamboo free from pesticides and fertilizers. All water used in its production process is recycled and reused.

Nube

Has Pricing Increased?

US exit price points remain stable

Due to an array of technology for different sports and varying levels of support in each bra, there is a wide price architecture across active retailers. The entry price is supplied by adidas at $28, which is $3 more than its opening price in January 2021. Exit price points across the board are aligned with 2021, with Lululemon's $108 Enlite high support bra the most expensive. While PUMA has kept its entry and exit prices level with 2021, its average price has lifted 14% YoY due to retailing more options in the $60-$65 bucket, including its collaborations with goop and Liberty.

sports bra sales

All UK retailers inflate their average prices

As examined in our activewear deep dive, rising material costs, sustainable innovation and customer demand have all contributed to sportswear retailers marking up their retail prices. Sports bras in the UK market have seen average prices inflate across all our analyzed retailers. Like the US, PUMA has seen the most notable increase of its average selling price. Gymshark's entry priced Fit Seamless Bra has risen from £20 to £25, while its Apex Sports Bra is now £45 compared to £40 last year. Nike's average price has uplifted 8% YoY, with more options situated between £35-£40.

sports bra sales

Promotional Opportunities

Provide an easy online navigation experience

Active brands typically organize sports bras by low, medium and high impact. Mass market retailers such as Gap, Marks & Spencer and Next also use these filters. The latter also provides a sports bra guide, educating the shopper on suitable styles for different activities.

Ensure technical properties are leveraged in filter panels to capture spend from consumers who are willing to trade up for enhanced functionality. Nike, adidas and Lululemon all draw attention to their specialized fabrics.

sports bra sales

Image via Next

Inclusive-size options and post-mastectomy bras should be easily shoppable to create a smoother navigation experience. Marks & Spencer has a landing page for post-surgery bras, which includes sports lines, while adidas is currently retailing two options in its Stella McCartney range.

With sustainability increasingly front of mind for many consumers, consider introducing a sustainable filter or utilizing symbols to show eco-friendly products on product landing pages.

sports bra sales

Image via adidas

Promotional dates

Bookmark sportsbra 

Feb 2 - National Girls and Women in Sports Day
Apr 22 - Earth Day
May 7 - National Fitness Day (US)
Jun 2 - Global Running Day
Jun 21 - International Yoga Day
Oct 2 - London Marathon
Nov 7 - National Hiking Day
Nov 6 - New York City Marathon

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