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Bangladesh has a huge chance to expand its presence in the global sportswear market

Sports have been a favorite activity for humankind since ancient times. In modern world frenzy sports competitions like football, Olympics, rugby, basketball, cricket, etc. have created a huge sportswear market. Leading sportswear brands have been in strong R&D to develop suitable and comfortable products for athletes and general consumers who love to wear sportswear in this multi-billion global market.

Bangladesh-opportunity-in-global-sportswear
Figure 1: The global sportswear market is booming.

As sportswear fulfills intense activities it needs specialized varieties of materials. Like cotton, Tencel, bamboo, polyester, calico, spandex, x-static, wool, etc. fibers are used but synthetic fabrics are mostly considered to be the best choice as they can provide a good combination of functional properties.

Reasons behind the growing demand

Health consciousness is growing at a rapid speed, giving rise to health awareness, healthier lifestyles, and adoption of fitness activities including running, swimming, aerobics and yoga among consumers. The participation of women in sports and fitness activities works as a fuel to boost the global sports market. Also, eye-catching advertisements and celebrity endorsement have helped the sports industry to pave its way toward growth. At the same time, people are wearing sportswear as casual dresses at home or office and sports lovers wearing to show their support to their beloved sports.

Key players

Adidas, Nike, Puma, Under Armour known as “Big Four” are the largest athletic retailers while New Balance, Reebok, Hummel, Skechers, Dicks, Converse, Fila, Lululemon, Columbia, ASICS, Lotto, Decathlon, The North Face, etc. are going ahead strongly.

Sportswear products

Jersey, trouser, sneakers, sweatshirts, jacket, coat, hoodie, jogger, shorts, sports bra, leggings, etc. items are globally most used items. Factories produce three types of jerseys such as player jerseys, fan jerseys and country jerseys.

leading-Sportswear-items

Due to heavy requirement, jerseys, shorts and footwears are produced more and its demand reach at skyscraper during international sports competition like FIFA, ICC world cup, La Liga, Copa America, Olympic Games, Wimbledon, etc.

sportswear-items
Figure 2: Different types of sportswear items are made as the demand is sky-high.

Fashion trends
The taste, style, or choosing powers of youths are changed in every season. Sneakers, sweatshirts and tracksuits are the most hyped products in men’s fashion. Following trends can create a vast appetite for sportswear lover in upcoming sports fashion—

Leggings
Leggings that sculpt the body the most wanted workout bottom for woman consumers. Printed soft leggings have officially emerged as the uniform of choice for the sequestered, increased 392% over the last three months.

sportswear-leggings
Figure 3: Leggings are used in various purposes.

Sustainable style

Now shoppers are choosing and searching eco-friendly options when heading to the gym; up 151% compared to the previous year. More than 23 billion pairs of sneakers are made every year, over 300 million pairs are thrown out annually and on average, it takes 30-40 years for a pair to fully decompose in a landfill. Keeping in mind, some brands make recycled footwear.

Nike, Adidas has started using recycled leather, plastic, and Reebok announced a running sneaker made from plant-derived, rather than petroleum-based materials. Cactus leaves made leather athletic products are getting popularity recently.

sustainable-wear
Figure 4: Youths preferring sustainable items mostly to wear.

Print
2019 sportswear fashion trends included animal prints such as leopard, snakeskin and zebra stripes are seen at sportswear brands such as Varley. The animal print is expected to stay for a while.

Bright tangerine and tie-dye

A tangerine hit is a sure-fire way to brighten up sportswear and reflects the positive vibes of summer. The modern tie-dye trend offers beach vibe, yoga, sunset surfs, or bonfire nights.

Bye gloom, hello bloom

Vivid flowers were spotted blooming along the SS20 catwalks. This flower print embodies the spirit of growth for the spring/summer season.

Mesh

Varley, reebok and under armor evolves sweatshirts, leggings through slouchy proportions and mesh inserts ensuring breathability and relaxation and keep cool during the toughest workout in summer.

Global market value and top business hub for athletic wear

The fastest-growing regional market is Europe due to an ongoing change in the fashion trends, rapid purchase through e-commerce. According to Statista, the global sports and fitness clothing market generated around $167.1 billion in revenue in 2018, $181 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit $248.1 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.1% from 2019 to 2026. China, America, central & eastern Europe are prime markets.

Euromonitor says that the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the fastest-growing region, with a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period. North America currently dominates the market, accounting for over 30% of the market share and the size of the market in the US is estimated at US$ 62 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.1% over the next five years. Latin America is known as ‘divine of football’ did tremendous performance since the last three fiscal years, growing at CAGR of around 4%.

global-sportswear-value
Figure 5: Global value of sportswear markets in USD billion (Source: Statista).

Market overview of brands

Nike is one of the most prominent producers in this sector being ranked first. However, Nike’s brand value has historically been significantly higher than its closest competitor, Adidas, Puma, and Under Armour.

Nike has grabbed strongly world’s 41% market share, revenue was €31.35 billion in 2018 whereas Adidas, Puma, Under Armour have 22%, 10%, 9% market share and earned €21.92 billion, €4.65 billion, €4.58 billion revenue in 2018 respectively. Nike’s 45% and 18% sales are coming respectively from North America and Western Europe zone while Adidas’s 29% and 21% sales from North America and Western Europe.

financial-graph-leading-sportswear-brands
Figure 6: Financial graph of renowned sportswear brands in 2018 in €billion (Source: Statista)

Adidas has been a major sponsor of the FIFA World Cup since 1970, supplying match balls, referee uniforms and kits for the tournament. This brand-sponsored 12 teams in the last football tournament held in Russia while 10, 4, 2, 1 teams were from Nike, Puma, New Balance, Hummel respectively.

In 2016, Adidas produced around 360 million pairs of shoes, which were sold under brand names such as Adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade.  Global experts say, sporting events around the world have been canceled due to the COVID-19 virus’s spread, it will affect on the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan and Euro 2020 soccer championship.

Global-share-sportswear-brands
Figure 7: Global market share % of sportswear brands (Source: Forbes).

Local manufacturers are getting tons of opportunities

Bangladesh is a major hotspot for outsourcing sports attire along with woven and knit. For 30 years, the country’s factories have been making millions of dollars’ worth of sportswear. Quality and cheaper rates of such local apparel attract the buyers most. Sportswear brands Puma and Adidas are engaged in Bangladesh. Hummel, Decathlon, Fila, Columbia sportswear, Under Armour are also buying from Bangladesh.

According to EPB, in 2018, the sportswear export value was 10% of total export value US$ 32.92 billion.
Not only jersey, but Bangladesh has also been supplying various types of high-end functional sports and activewear for different renowned football, cricket, badminton, golf clubs in the USA, EU and other countries.

According to BGMEA, Bangladesh has exported about $100 million worth of goods at the 2018 World Cup football. Earlier, export was nearly $70 million in the 2014 World Cup. China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and its government is aiming to establish a US$ 814 billion sports industry by 2025.

Bangladesh-made-sportswear-value-football-world-cup
Figure 8: Value of sportswear in football world cup made by Bangladesh in US$ million (Source: BGMEA and The Daily Star).

Sportswear business is an international mega tournament-based mainly. 4X more profit are generated during this period.

There’s no month in the calendar where any sporting event has not been scheduled. As the next football world cup will be held in Qatar in 2022, so industry leaders are expecting the Middle East will turn into a new business golden hub. And ICC Cricket World Cup India 2023 will also create an opportunity to create a business in sub-continental countries especially.

“It is a matter of great joy and pride for Bangladesh that the jerseys and kits manufactured for the World Cup football every time which had ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tags. Although Bangladesh can’t participate in the tournament yet, footballers and fans wear our symbolic name.

Recently Mondol Group has exported 20 thousand pcs jerseys for Hummel buyer and discussion is running for 1.5 lakh pcs sports item order worth at $1 million for Tottenham supporters,” said Mahadi Hasan, Assistant Merchandise Manager of Alim Knit BD Ltd (Mondol Group).

Local garment makers are coming ahead with fresh investment to set up new sportswear plants considering its immense growth. Envoy Group has already invested Tk 500 crore in Gazipur on 50 bighas of land to produce specialized garment items, including sportswear, wind jackets, swimwear. DBL Group, Youngone Group, Viyellatex Group, Epyllion Group, Windy Group, AJI Group, Mondol Group & hundreds of millers are passing busy time to grab the market.

German leading sports brand Puma entered Bangladesh with its first flagship store in 2019 holding hands by the DBL group. Decathlon has one outlet in the capital. Industry insiders say, foreign brands should open more outlets in Bangladesh because of the increasing national income of local citizens, whereas neighboring country India has a lot of stores.

Quality and cheaper rate of such local apparels attract the buyers most. Sportswear brands Puma and Adidas are engaged in Bangladesh. Hummel, Decathlon, Fila, Columbia sportswear, Under Armour are also buying from Bangladesh.

Besides local fashion brands will have an opportunity to upgrade their quality and product sense so that they can open shops outside of Bangladesh.

“Women are the biggest growth opportunity for Adidas. Despite the outbreak of coronavirus, Adidas orders have not been affected still now in the country. Adidas purchases 60 lakh pcs sports attire items worth at $40-$42 million annually from Bangladesh. This value could be more if the country improves the poor backward linkage of this sector,” said Mahamudul Hassan Chowdhury Tushar, Assistant Merchandise Manager of Adidas Bangladesh.

Need some initiatives

Quality of marketing and goods are the key driver of growth. Advanced technology with proper technical skills can make an effective story-telling industry. Sector’s positive branding can give extra mileage. We have to improve product innovation and design.

There are huge textile mills in Bangladesh who are making various types of woven and knit fabrics. But they are lagged due to insufficient synthetic thread supply. According to BTMA, only 425 spinning mills in Bangladesh, but 5-6 spinners can produce synthetic yarn. As a result, they need to import synthetic yarns & fabrics, especially from China.

Spinners are experts on mostly cotton and cotton blended items. Concern persons should set up more manmade yarns and fabric mills to fill this scarcity by using existing set up of the latest machines and manpower with proper training. It will help the industry to maintain lead time & cost. Authority should also increase port efficiency.

Although Bangladesh is the second-largest garment exporter worldwide after China, it has little presence in the global sportswear market while China and Vietnam are currently dominating. Bangladesh is moving ahead fast to catch its dream target $50 Billion by 2021, where it stands now far behind with $35 Billion.

Experts say that the Bangladesh government should take a project in hand where only specialized sports products making zone will be built to boost its growth. The combined efforts of all including government, BGMEA, BKMEA can turn the buyer’s attention to Bangladesh in the sportswear sector more.

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