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Jan 9, 2020
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Gym-to-street, yoga and sculpting boom as activewear searches surge says Lyst

Jan 9, 2020

If anyone thought the athleisure trend might be about to fade, they couldn't have been more wrong. As more and more retailers embrace activewear (recent launches have included initiatives from Browns and M&S at different ends of the market) consumers continue to show a strong interest in the category.

Sweaty Betty

The latest trend report from high-end search engine Lyst showed searches for activewear items have seen a significant increase since the beginning of this year and are currently up 59%. 

Demand for leggings is key here. It was “consistently high” for the whole of last year and has seen an additional 15% rise since the first week of January — unsurprising given the fact that many consumers will have made New Year’s resolutions that include a new fitness regime.  

On average, 35 pairs of leggings are bought every hour on Lyst, and it's interesting that the average cost has increased 17% year-on-year. This comes as more and more upscale labels have been announcing fitness launches, which is likely to be skewing prices slightly higher.

Lyst said that “following the shapewear renaissance, leggings and workout bottoms that sculpt have become a favourite among the fashion set too”. Searches including key terms like “shaping”, “lift” and “sculpting” are up 392% collectively over the last three months and waist-contouring/sculpting leggings from Spanx, Sweaty Betty, and AloYoga “have all significantly increased in page views heading into this year”.

Also strong are super-high-waisted leggings with searches up 65% and at an all-time high. There’s also growing interest in one-piece workout-wear. Demand for leotards and unitards rose 83% last year and has surged another 21% in 2020. Lyst said sports unitards are “having a moment” with brands such as Adidas, Asos and Free People Movement benefiting, while plain black is the favourite colour.

It’s also interesting that consumers are seeking eco-conscious activewear with words like “sustainable” and “recycled” increasingly being used in searches for sneakers. And searches for specific sustainable materials commonly used in activewear have risen — they’re up 102% for econyl, 130% for repreve, 42% for tencel and 52% for organic cotton. Searches for “sustainable activewear” are also up 151% on the year. 


At the moment, the most searched for brands on Lyst for responsible activewear are Girlfriend Collective, Adidas x Parley and Outdoor Voices while the fastest rising brand is Vyayama, a conscious active and yoga wear label.

In fact, yoga as a whole is a key part of the activewear surge. Pieces from Lululemon to Beyond Yoga had continuous high demand in searches throughout 2019 and this has run into 2020 with a 38% rise so far. Other popular brands include Australia’s P.E Nation and L’Urv. And in the past two years, the number of yoga-related products sold through Lyst is up 42%.

Fashion searches for yoga clothing have increased significantly too with demand for “yoga leggings” up 36% month-on-month. And while black is popular for activewear as a whole, yoga customers seem to like animal prints as well as pastel colours — especially light blue, baby pink, lilac, beige and white.

Beyond Yoga

This fashion-linked interest in active clothing is key with consumers buying these pieces for their everyday lives as well as for workouts and they want them to be practical and to look good on the street too. Lyst said that “from metallic colours to leggings with zips and pockets, the demand for hybrid sportswear pieces is growing strong. In fact, searches for leggings with pockets are up 180% over the past three months while searches for “zip leggings” have risen by 76%”.

High-shine and coated leggings (“which are basically too fancy to sweat in”) are in demand with searches for “black coated leggings” specifically up 250% since mid-November. And after JLo was seen in a pair of metallic rose gold yoga leggings last month, searches for “metallic leggings” went up 33% in just 24 hours.

Searches for solid monochrome colours “that can be easily mixed and paired,” such as black, burgundy, dark green, and grey, were particularly popular over the past three months, rising 71%.

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