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Image © Gymshark

UK-based athleisurewear brand Gymshark has become a juggernaut at the activewear end of the sports goods industry, but the RetailX Global Sports Goods 2024 report takes a closer look at its 2023 performance revealing a more nuanced picture.

The athleisurewear segment is experiencing explosive growth, driven by the blurring lines between activewear and everyday wear. Gymshark has been one of the main beneficiaries. The company reported a 15% revenue increase that hit $695.71mm (£556.2mn) in 2023, yet profit before tax dropped from £27.8mn to £13.1mn. 

On the consumer-facing side, Gymshark has built a powerful brand image through social media savvy and influencer marketing that has resonated with a younger, fitness-focused demographic. Bypassing traditional retail channels and focusing on ecommerce has also allowed Gymshark to maintain control over brand messaging, to tap into the shopping habits of its key demographic and, potentially, to offer more competitive pricing.

It also regularly refreshes its lines, launching new collections and collaborating with personalities such as leading Instagram fitness influencer Whitney Simmons in order to keep the brand fresh and exciting for this core audience. 

The brand has also created campaigns with Muslim athletes and influencers, such as Umaymah Makda, to create more diverse content appealing to a wider demographic. This programme led to the creation of the first sportsfriendly hijab. 

However, there have been challenges that are squeezing profitability for the brand. Despite revenue growth, the decline in profits suggests rising costs or inefficiencies in the supply chain. The brand has fallen victim to its market segment maturing, with the athleisurewear market becoming increasingly crowded and established players such as Nike and Adidas, as well as fastfashion giants, vying for market share. 

Consumer tastes within athleisurewear can also be fickle. Gymshark needs to stay ahead of evolving trends and adapt its product offerings accordingly. While the company’s core strength lies in its ability to cater to a specific customer segment, exploring opportunities for diversification within the athleisurewear market or venturing into adjacent categories such as performance apparel could be ways for it to bolster revenue streams. 

Meanwhile, venturing into collaborations with established athletes or exploring premium athleisure lines could further elevate brand perception and attract a broader customer base.

This spotlight features in the new Global Sports Goods 2024 report in which we give a comprehensive overview of this dynamic sector through RetailX research, detailed graphics and exclusive case-studies.

Inside the report we answer the most important questions about how shoppers are buying differently, as well as to reveal the main factors driving this change, what we might expect in the future and how retailers and brands can plan for that.

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