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Industry background

Athletic sportswear evolved in 1970s, small and unique markets product lines to the front line fashion product. The manufacturers started focusing on all the parameters like performance, fashion, function and style. By the period of 1980s, the use of casual dress on most of the occasions provided an ultimate opportunity to the sportswear to enter the front line clothing market, resulting in an increased involvement in sports.

The net worth of the athletic apparel and footwear market is more than 58 billion US dollars as per the estimations (Report, 2004). The sportswear apparel leads the athletic footwear sector here and contributes the major part. These companies try to increase the demand for their products with their marketing and promotions, and this enables them to lift up the market barriers in order to hinder potential new competitors.

Nike has played the key role in transforming the sport shoes and apparel into a fashion statement among people and especially youth. It was the first sport shoe manufacturer in Asian region apart from being the first in this sector to initiate marketing and advertising of athletic shoes. The smaller brands always tend to copy the marketing strategies of big shots like Nike and Reebok.

These giants

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have accelerated the consumption by emphasizing workouts and health issues in the period of late 1970s and early 1980s (Report, 2004). The international athletic apparel industry is less concentrated than the athletic footwear market. The 36% of the global wholesale market is contributed by the top 20 players of this industry segment. The world athletic footwear market is estimated to be around $17.

012 billion wholesale and around $25 billion at the retail level. The athletic sport shoe segment of the US market is considered to be the largest in this category. It contributes around 47% i. e. $7. 8 billion of the world’s total sales. The European Union is just next to it with 31% stake or $5 billion turnover. It is important to note that around 70% of the total athletic footwear is bought for casual or every day use .

As per the reports, in UK only around one fifth sportswear is bought for actual sport and workouts. The UK clothing and footwear market worth was estimated to be around ? 48. 55bn in the year 2007 (Report, 2004). Out of which, the clothing segment contributed around ? 42. 45bn and footwear’s, around ? 6. 1bn. The spending capacity of consumer in this segment has seen a declination due to the fact that most of these items are available at much lower prices nowadays.

The sporting apparels and gear market is usually considered as saturated. It has been observed that even in the leading US, unit growth has been stable where as the prices have continued to fall. The scenario is bit more complex in the European market. UK, Germany and Netherlands markets are noticing continuous price fall, where as market is growing rapidly in smaller countries like Spain and Italy.

Still, the sportswear companies continue to spend heavily on marketing and promotion in order to encourage the consumer images of their brands, ignoring the declining prices and flat market. In 1993, the time when Adidas closed its German factories, its marketing budget was raised from around 102m euros to more than 409m euros, as per the sources (Report, 2004).

References

Official Website. Under Armour. < www. underarmour. com>. Report. 2004, Sportswear Industry Data and Company Profiles: Background information for the Play Fair at the Olympics Campa

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