expanded into the luxurysportswear market by creating ‘sports lines’ of their existing line.
Forexample, world-renowned luxury brand Prada have been successful in capturingsignificant market share in the sportswear market with their sport line ‘PradaSport’ (Lim et al., 2016). This targets amore accessible luxury segment of consumers by appealing to a more diversespectrum of consumer preferences (Zheng et al., 2013).
2.6 Brand influence on sportswearConsumers perceive brand to be a symbol of quality (Raoand Monroe, 1989) high status, and hence opt for brands that are modern andcosmopolitan (Lee et al., 2008) inorder to enhance their identity in society (Dickson and Pollack, 2000).Consumers consider brands not only as the representation of a company but alsoas status, identity, financial background and the general living of a personhence why many consumers buy brands due to the brand image in the market (Tongand Hawley, 2009). According to Tong and Hawley (2009) the sportswear market isone of the most heavily branded areas in the global apparel market estimated holdingthat over three-quarters of the total active sportswear market are branded.
Branding remains the industry’s largest source of competitive advantage. Thisis an area of clothing in which customers’ purchasing choices are frequentlydetermined by the sports figures they admire, or the teams they follow, and thebrands they aspire to wear (Newbery, 2008). The growing interest of consumersboth as participants and speculators adds to the increased demand in sportswear(Tong and Su, 2014).
In spite of the reports being made for the custom ofwearing athletic clothing, interestingly no research appears to have beenpublished which looks at the functional aspects of wearing a uniformcontributing to the athletic performance. Nash’s (1977) account of runners used clothing for identification andstatus providing further evidence integrating the influence of appearance insportswear. Likewise Wheat and Dickson (1999) found golfers satisfactionoccurred most frequently when respondents were pleased with the expressivecharacteristics such as style and branding. What makes this finding noteworthyis the emphasis on the fact that in relation to role identity although golferswere satisfied with the brand name on their uniform they were oftendissatisfied with the actual product (Wheat & Dickson, 1999). Thereforeathletes appear to be willing to sacrifice performance aspects of sportswear forprestigious and fashionable brand names. Consumers believe that brand name is a symbol of qualityand status and hence is used as a source of information about a credenceproperty (Teas and Grapentine, 1996). There are various factors that influencethe increased demand of sports clothing and the major ones are garmentsprevailed as a fashion trend, casual wear, lifestyle, leisure activity andwell-being trends (Ko et al.
,2012). Therefore the buying behavior in sportswear shows a change in patternfrom function to fashion/leisurewear and this researcher assumes that thiscould be as a result of the brand name and the perception of the brand in themind of the consumers. The change in the pattern of buying behavior isevidenced by new research from Mintel in 2016 showing that 50% of consumers who bought sports clothing, footwear,equipment or accessories did so for non-sports use and 34% purchasedfashionable sportswear that can be worn when not exercising (Mintel.com,2017) Furthermore, 32% of purchasers say they prefer to buy from sportsretailers who follow the latest fashion trends (Mintel.com, 2017).
Inaddition the women’s sportswear market in particular is becoming more demandingas customers become more fashion conscious and opt for items fit for alloccasions. Demonstrated in (Catalyst Corporate Finance, 2014) womenhave a desire for fashionable workout clothing with an increased emphasis onversatility, convenience, fashion, comfort and style appeal with clothing thatoffers both functional performance and style appeal.