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Athleisure Industry Challenges and Opportunities in 2021

Today, athleisure has become the new buzzword in the fashion sector. Athleisure has transformed the fashion world by making stretch leggings, and crop tops the everyday outfit. This new lifestyle has resulted from increased health awareness around the globe and cultural change in workplaces, which has enabled people to wear t-shirts and yoga pants while in the office.

The millennials, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, social media influence, and peer networking have contributed to adopting this relaxed clothing standard. Consequently, renowned fashion brands have started to embrace the athleisure movement to meet the increasing demand for such products. As a result, market analysts expect the athleisure market size to reach $122.66 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 7%.

Although the industry has experienced significant growth, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted it. 2021 will be a year in which disruptive trends will become the norm for the athleisure sector and its supply chain. However, the fallout from the global pandemic implies that the industry will confront various challenges and opportunities.

Athleisure Industry Opportunities

  • While various sectors, including the athleisure industry, experienced several changes, including trade disputes, logistics issues, bankruptcies, shutdowns, changing consumer demand, leadership changes, and inflation in 2020, the challenges will continue through 2021. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the athleisure industry with an opportunity to reevaluate its supply chain and reveal new value. Although federal governments have not yet uplifted movement restrictions, the industry must embrace digital tools to alleviate risks, hasten production, and minimize costs.
  • Besides, changes in consumer demands present an opportunity for the athleisure industry in 2021. Based on the products people buy, the industry will experience a demand reallocation as the demand for certain styles has declined due to remote working. Although other fashion brands are trying to bridge the gap between official wear and loungewear, the athleisure industry has a greater chance to grab the opportunity.
  • In 2021, the athleisure industry will have an excellent opportunity to reassess its supply chains. Although consumers who want to buy cheap products will always exist, many customers question the need to stuff their wardrobes with excessive athleisure clothing. Although the pandemic forced the industry to over-rely on far-flung international supply chains that chased the cheapest manufacturers, it will get an opportunity to re-inflate the supply chain and enhance its capacity to offer exceptional and irreplaceable products.

Athleisure Industry Challenges

  • Trying to comprehend how the consumers have changed and the products they need will be one of the significant challenges affecting the industry in 2021. Many people hope that the global pandemic will end in 2021. However, athletes, retailers, manufacturers, and importers will have to determine who will be their new customers and their value propositions and why they will buy.
  • Besides, the athleisure industry will experience a significant change in consumers’ tastes and preferences. Today, customers look forward to staying safe and healthy in the new normal. They need outfits that support the new lifestyle. As a result of remote working, consumers need more comfortable and versatile clothes. Therefore, the industry will undergo significant changes to design products with some features and functionality of PPEs. Consequently, the industry will have to incur extra costs to meet the new market demands.
  • In 2021, it will be difficult for the athleisure industry to reestablish a meaningful connection with the clients. Although online shopping has become the new norm, many consumers have started to lose faith in these platforms because many do not offer quality products. In many cases, these online platforms are overstuffed with cheap and low-quality products that do not add value to consumers. Consequently, since the clients have shifted to other types of clothing, the industry will have to devise new ways to enhance online shopping experiences and win their clients.
  • The athleisure industry will also experience some difficulties in predicting customer habits in 2021. New trade patterns have emerged as a result of remote working. Unlike before, consumers now shop locally and at various times of the day, week, or month. Additionally, many consumers have shifted to online shopping, making it difficult for the athleisure industry to create exciting shopping experiences in physical stores. Therefore, the industry might be incapable of predicting when to make sales.


The main challenges for the athleisure industry in 2021 will result from demand uncertainty, supply chains, and consumer behaviors. However, digitalization will be the most significant opportunity. It will enhance flexibility and speed and enable the industry to meet consumers’ demands amid the pandemic.