For Audimas, an expert sportswear and outdoor clothing manufacturer, keeping up with current trends and those that are predicted to shape the next years of sporting goods industry is extremely important. In order to plan business growth successfully and achieve results, brands and clothing production manufacturers must understand and adapt to growing needs of consumers in this ever-changing landscape.
While according to McKinsey& Company research “The Next Normal” the situation in 2020 has had a profound impact on sportswear market, affecting sales negatively, some areas of sports industry saw opportunities for development. Consequently, sportswear companies have proven to be more resilient to the changes imposed on apparel industry.
Similar to many other industries, majority of the trends shaping current vision for the future of Sporting Goods are not new, but have accelerated their development and their potential impact. According to McKinsey report, current shifts can be sorted into three main categories: consumer shifts, digital leap and industry disruption.
Consumer shift – 2021 and the years to come will belong to those who have already adapted their operations and have adopted a consumer-centric outlook. As research has suggested, individual outdoor sports as well as home exercise are expected to have a long-term increase. Thus, more players are entering this marketing creating a highly competitive environment. Due to varying changes in consumer habits, brands will be expected to be more focused on the value proposition and present angles to a variety of interest groups. In addition to a multi-faceted communication approach, sustainability continues to grow relevance and brands are expected to be more open, even more innovative and continually evolving within this field.
Digital leap – as the last year has challenged traditional shopping concept, brands inevitably had to adapt to a digital-first experience. Digital leap for Sports Goods requires to acknowledge the development of digital fitness communities and the current role of online-led physical activities, retail shift to online-first market with exponential growth of new shoppers, the overall change of marketing activities – placing even more value on the authentic experience, recommendation and trial demonstration via influencer marketing. Digital has challenged brands across all categories, changing marketing rules and increasing competition. With the increased volume of communication, it’s important to ensure all activities, channels and assets contribute to brand’s key message, values and mission.
Industry disruption – traditional retail as we know it will inevitably change and reshape in the years to come. While the world has moved to a more digitally focused approach across all life situations, the desire for real experiences will remain. Clothing industry is a huge part of the traditional experiences our society craves, but at the same time it is also rethinking traditional practices. The entire process of clothing production is being questioned by consumers from clothes sewing, sustainability practices, materials to design and production timeline. What we have seen emerge is the demand for supply chain flexibility – this involves localization, more individualized product solutions.
Current trends of direct-to-consumer products, e-commerce growth have significantly challenged clothing manufacturers to rethink and adapt to both changes of consumers as well as the industry as a whole. Audimas has placed a lot of focus on using more innovative tools to accommodate all of these needs – shorter lead times in production with digitization of garment development, DTG printing to offer more customization for each individual consumer and for businesses, the expansion of their Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) collection to speed up the process while maintaining quality and offering enough customization to develop and produce parts of collection in an efficient manner.
The key steps to being successful in the changing apparel market will require manufacturers to ensure a presence in growing categories, offer shorter lead times, present a more efficient product development process while maintaining sustainable practices and focus on customization.