The 5 Next Activewear Opportunities in Southeast Asia

Sparked by the fitness boom earlier this year, the demand for activewear has not waned amidst the Covid-19. This report investigates the next five key opportunities in activewear, focusing specifically on the Southeast Asia region.

Written by Atiqah KamarudinNovember 2, 2020


Key Insights

  • Covid-19 Shifts Demand: Southeast Asians’ growing need to stay healthy and comfortable with daily wear have translated to strong demand for running gear and yoga wear. At the same time, they also demand for value in purchases.
  • Women on the Rise: Women’s category for running outperformed men’s in terms of sell-out growth at +55% vs. +28% in the last 6 months, against the previous period (Apr – Sep 2020 versus Oct 2019 – Mar 2020).
  • Sustainability Awareness: Activewear products containing recycled materials have doubled in the past 6 months.

The pro-longed Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to running and other forms of exercise including home fitness regimes. This new norm coupled with the existing demand for activewear to be worn as daily wear, have led consumers in Southeast Asia to spend more on the segment as it enters essential consumption.

While athleisure-inspired and performance footwear leads activewear in the region, there are opportunities in the other categories. This report shares the five next growth opportunities of activewear, in a region that will become the world’s fourth-largest economy worth approximately $4 trillion USD by the next decade.

Exactly 69,121 data points were analysed from October 2019 to September 2020 (last 12 months) on womenswear and menswear from Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance and Puma, including both mono-brand and multi-label retailer sites such as Zalora, Bobobobo and Sports Direct across Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.


All data used in this report comes from products retailing online as tracked by Omnilytics, unless otherwise mentioned.

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The Region’s Strong Sell-Out Performance

The international activewear brands in the region have launched successful marketing activities, limited edition capsules and localised assortments that convert to sell-outs.

Under Armour Led Growth

Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia saw a combined increased in sell-out of 32% in the last 6 months from April to September 2020 against the previous 6 months (October 2019 to March 2020), on the back of marginal newness (Chart 1).

While Adidas and Nike remain the region’s most popular brands, the last 6 months observed the biggest online sell-out growth by Under Armour (+79%), Puma (+53%) and in third place, Adidas (+26%). The top performing categories were Shorts, Accessories and Sports Bras, which differed from sweatpants and hoodies that are trending in the western markets.

Malaysia Drove The Highest Sell-Out, Then Singapore

The brands traded with a combined 47% and 43% sell-out rates in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, amidst growing competition from the local brands.

Indonesia recorded the least growth in the region, given the uncertainty surrounding the second partial lockdown, which commenced in September.

The subsequent pages will focus on the five opportunities of growth in the region, where apparel brands of other segments can also leverage and adapt as relevant.


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#1 Full Price Opportunity for Men’s Shorts

While workout bottoms have generally experienced a boom globally, men’s Shorts in the Southeast Asian region drove 50% sell-out in the last 6 months, a 44% increment year-on-year and tailed closely behind Tops. Its huge increase in replenished SKUs at 97% versus the previous period, led to strong full price sell-out contribution at 52% and 16% higher median price.

Premium Running Shorts

Bestsellers were dominated by running shorts, but more interestingly, the demand came from higher price points.

Nike and Under Armour were the go-to brands for 2-in-1 and performance shorts in the USD 50 – 70 price range (Chart 2). On the flip side, Puma failed to drive any sell-out in the same price range.


New Balance’s popular essential shorts along with Adidas’ graphic shorts were driving strong sell-out in the good tier, USD 30 – 40 price range.


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#1 Full Price Opportunity for Men’s Shorts (cont’d)

Bestsellers by Market

Overall, the best-selling products were largely dominated by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.

While majority of these SKUs were best for running, the lifestyle and training shorts by Adidas were also preferred by consumers.



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#2 Women’s Greater Growth in Running

While menswear traditionally drives a bigger share of the revenue in activewear, the women’s segment has witnessed a significant growth in the region in recent times, owing to the increasing participation in fitness activities as well as the demand for lifestyle sportswear.

With fitness centres closed during the lockdown, outdoor running has seen a resurgence. Omnilytics data shows products for Running had a sell-out growth exceeding the total average at 37%, with womenswear surpassing men’s at +55% vs. +28%. Singapore was leading the pack on this front, with 55% more sell-out in the last 6 months.

The running segment also saw a 12% uplift in median price, largely driven by stronger full price sell-out contribution. Top categories with above average sell-out at full price were Accessories, Shorts and Outerwear, on top of Shoes. The preferred brands were Adidas, New Balance, and Under Armour.


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Meet the Author

Atiqah Kamarudin

Nur Atiqah Kamarudin is a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Omnilytics. With past experience at Nielsen and Euromonitor, she has spent years analysing data and unearthing insights to help brands and retailers make informed decisions. She currently produces reports on the fashion industry and its changing retail scene across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.

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