Women demand performance and fashion
Women make a sharp distinction between function and style when purchasing active wear, according to research from the Australian Sporting Goods Association.
The Active Wear: Forecasting Future Trends in Female Consumer Behaviour research project found women will pay more for performance active wear but less for style-based active wear that looks good and is assumed to have only basic functionality.
As one focus group participant said “Sports brands are more authentic. You feel like they have the history of doing sport.”
However, women are no longer content to be forced into male-dominated sports retail spaces. They expect – and will seek out – retail experiences that are appealing and cater to their expectations, both in-store and online.
“I think fashion stores have really changed their changing rooms in the last ten years, and exercise stores are still really old fashioned,” another focus group participant said in relation to the in-store retail experience.
Executive Director of ASGA, Shannon Walker, said “This research provides a warning shot for female active wear brands and retailers.
“Women are no longer content to purchase ‘cut-down’ versions of men’s active wear or fashionable items masquerading as suitable for exercise. They want and expect both fashion and functionality.”
The research, conducted by Victoria University, spoke to 72 active women, aged from 16 to 35 years old, in eight focus groups across metropolitan and regional Australia.
Lead researcher on the project, Dr Clare Hanlon from Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), said “Women and girls who purchase active wear receive surprisingly limited marketing attention from brands and retailers.
“They are seeking, but have trouble finding, connections to brands that are authentic and speak their language.”
“This research, as one stage of a multi-stage project, provides valuable qualitative information that will allow brands and retailers to understand, in-depth, the purchase decision-making habits of female consumers of active wear,” Hanlon said. The focus groups are the second stage of a four stage, $140,000, research project.
It will result in a comprehensive report about the trends in female active wear, consumer sentiment about the category and the future of the category in the Australian marketplace in the next five years.
The report will provide valuable insights to brands, retailers and marketers of female active wear and for companies thinking of moving into that space.
• For more information about the project please visit the ASGA website – www.asga.com.au – or contact Shannon Walker on 03 9320 2655.
Australian Sporting Goods Association
Suite 1.03,1/ 492 St Kilda Road
Melbourne, VIC 3004
Ph: O3 9320 2655