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Athleisure Brands are on the Move

It’s 2019, which means fitness is a lifestyle. And athleisure (think versatile, comfy leggings and tanks that look just as good at the grocery store as the gym) is here for it. Athleisure brands are rapidly gaining traction among bloggers; traditional athletic brands, maybe not so much. From March 2018 to February 2019, the top five EMV-generating athleisure brands—Gymshark, Alo Yoga, Lululemon, Fabletics, and Outdoor Voices—averaged a 25% year-over-year growth (compared to March 2017 to February 2018). In contrast, the top five athletic brands—Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, and Under Armour—averaged a 13% YoY decline, suggesting influencers are turning to more stylish and adaptable options for their gym clothes. What are top brands doing in either category that are making a difference?

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Athleisure Brands Are Building Consistent, Impactful Partnerships

EMV performance

Gymshark was king last year, boasting the highest EMV total ($147.8M) and YoY growth (65%) of any athleisure brand between March 2018 and February 2019. The brand continued to win new fans via its partnerships with fitness YouTubers like Nikki Blackketter and Whitney Simmons, who attended pop-ups, promoted launches, and sported Gymshark apparel in their workout videos.

Yoga pants are here to stay. Alo Yoga’s 26% YoY gain in EMV ($127.0M) was fueled by yogi and powerhouse Instagrammer Laura Sykora, who endorsed Alo Yoga in an impressive 269 pieces of content ($8.4M EMV) from March to February, up from her $6.0M and 221 posts last year.

Made for #DoingThings (hiking? walking? Netflix?), Outdoor Voices roared ahead this year, posting the second-highest annual growth (48%) after Gymshark. Bloggers like Lauren Sims routinely shouted out the brand in (mostly outdoor) lifestyle content, helping it collect $15.5M EMV from March to February. Mentions of #DoingThings pulled in $2.3M EMV.

The Up-And-Comer: SETActive: If athleisure brands went to high school, SETActive would be the cool new kid no one really knows—yet—but everyone wants to sit with. Launched last summer, the brand became an instant favorite among bloggers like Ellie Thumann and Kalani Hilliker, who flaunted its chic, minimalist activewear in high-impact Instagrams. From August 2018 to February 2019, SETActive’s monthly total jumped from $858 across two content creators to $779.4k EMV and 16 content creators. Altogether, the brand scored $2.1M EMV from 42 content creators.

Top Athletic Brands Rely on Streetwear Culture and Athletes



Colin Kaepernick is the GIF that keeps on giving, and that may have something to do with Nike’s No. 1 spot in the athletics vertical (and non-luxury fashion overall). The brand dipped 1% YoY to post $857.7M EMV between March 2018 and February 2019, with $124.1M of this total coming in September (thanks, Kaepernick). Nike’s 10 highest-earning content creators were all retailers and streetwear content aggregators (accounts that curate, but don’t create, original content), rather than individual influencers.

What better way to buck declines than...team up with The Rock? The actor and wrestler collaborated with Under Armour on multiple #ProjectRock collections and participated in promotional shoots, helping the brand increase its EMV ($79.6M) by 21% YoY. Under Armour was the only top-five athletic brand to drive annual growth.

These are just a few of the strategies detailed in our full Guide to Influencer Strategy for Activewear and Athleisure, available to download today for free!

Read our Guide to Influencer Strategy for Activewear + Athleisure

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