Sneakers, Collaborations Dominate in Inaugural Launchmetrics Sportswear Report

When it comes to sportswear, sneakers take the lion’s share, micro influencers are the way to go and it’s redefining the boundaries of fashion, according to the inaugural Launchmetrics report released Wednesday.

With the sportswear market standing at $185.9 billion in 2022 and set to grow to $356 billion by 2032, according to figures highlighted by Launchmetrics in its report, the global sportswear market generated $7 billion in media impact value in 2022.

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Launchmetrics’ proprietary media impact value figure, or MIV, tallies the impact of relevant media placements on all channels (online, social and print), inclusive of paid, owned and earned mediums.

In the introduction, Launchmetrics chief executive officer Michael Jaïs said growth could be attributed to the conjunction of “shifting consumer preferences, increased focus on health and fitness in the post-pandemic world, and the rise of athleisure as a dominant fashion trend,” with sportswear having evolved in the past decade from a niche market for athletes and enthusiasts to an option for everyday wear.

Among the findings uncovered by the analytics company, sneakers alone account for 43.3 percent of the overall sportswear category. In the luxury segment, their 30.2 percent MIV share was proof of “the increasing popularity and crossover appeal of sneakers in the global footwear category and opportunity for brands moving forward.”

Cases in point: the collaborations between Gucci and Adidas, and Nike and Tiffany & Co.

Launchmetrics described the former as “a powerful synergy” that “not only elevated the perception of sportswear but has also generated a significant impact on the fashion landscape,” with an overall $96.5 million in total MIV for the year. The Italian luxury house’s announcement post alone accounted for $749,000 in MIV.

It took just five days for the sports giant and LVMH-owned jeweler to hit $11 million in MIV thanks to the attention the Swoosh-adorned Tiffany blue shoe box got on social media, particularly Instagram. And the nearly five months between Jan. 1 and May 24, the overall tally came up to $16.7 million.

The hookup “serves as a prime example of how strategic collaborations can leverage the strengths of each brand to create innovative offerings that resonate with target audiences and drive business growth,” said Launchmetrics.

As for who is influencing the final customer, the report shed light on the growing impact of influencers, especially micro influencers who are particularly effective at driving engagement, reaching niche audiences and delivering content that resonates. While they only amount to 9.7 percent of all voices, their share leapt 52 percent year-over-year compared to 2021.

Highlighted in the report are brief case studies of successful strategies applied by Adidas, Under Armour, Gymshark and Lululemon in the past year.

Tennis champion Serena Williams and the $369.94 million in MIV garnered for 2022 were singled out as “a powerful example of advocating for BIPOC women in male-dominated sports by showcasing their talent, resilience, and breaking down barriers.”

When it came to brands, Nike and Adidas came out on top by far among the 20 most powerful brands in sportswear in 2022 according to Launchmetrics, garnering respectively $2.6 billion and $2.15 billion. In contrast, third-place New Balance racked up nearly five times less, at $435.5 million.

Also making the top 20 were Puma, China-based label Anta, Converse, Li Ning, Under Armour, Lululemon, Reebok, The North Face, Skechers, Gymshark, Fila, Asics, Kappa, Alo Yoga, Patagonia, Salomon and Hoka.

The report pointed out that while sportswear labels were making big strides in sustainability, those conversations only accounted for 1 percent of the industry’s MIV, which “highlights the opportunity for brands to further prioritize and promote their sustainable initiatives to not only align with consumer values but also enhance their overall MIV and global industry impact,” said Launchmetrics.

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