"Work From Home" Increase Results In Athleisure Boom

It's no secret that the way in which we live has shifted dramatically since the rise of COVID-19. Working from home is the new norm, and it's now totally acceptable to hang out in your sweats and leggings all day. With our world's reversed, we're now confined to the walls of our homes, meaning our buying habits have also shifted.

Since the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced strict social distancing measures a week ago, forcing gyms and fitness studios to close, there has been a dramatic spike in exercise equipment and activewear sales nationwide.

Many people have taken to social media to express their frustrations at lining up to get into Kmart, only to find out that the exercise equipment shelves are empty - with not a yoga mat, weight or dumbbell in sight. It's not just Kmart though - retailer's such as Rebel Sport, Target and Big W have reported selling out of equipment both in store and online.

Kmart sports equipment isle empty

In response, home improvement megastore Bunnings has begun to sell Adidas exercise equipment online as the number of people working out at home increases - with everything from weights to treadmills available for purchase.

Not only are Australian retailers selling out of equipment, massive store chains such as Walmart in the U.S. have reportedly sold out of all fitness gear too.

The closure of gyms and studios has also forced many Australian businesses to be creative and quickly pivot to deliver their customers online versions of their workouts in order to maintain revenue during the COVID-19 crisis.

Fitness chains such as F45 and Body Fit Training as well as yoga, pilates and other independent studios are now offering daily workouts for members for a reduced rate.
Existing online training apps such as Kayla Itsine's SWEAT and Chris Hemsworth's Centr are similarly extending their free-trial periods to leverage off the fact that everyone is at home.

woman working out from home, source: classpass
Image: Classpass

It comes as no surprise too that the spike in home work-outs during COVID-19 has also meant a dramatic increase in people shopping for activewear online.

As many Australian's adapt to working from home, the work uniform has shifted from blazers and pants, to leggings, sweaters and hoodies. People are increasingly searching for garments that are comfortable and practical, and that help them feel motivated to jump straight into a workout after work.

woman in activewear at home on computer

According to the Daily Telegraph, many Aussie retailers have recorded a rise in the demand for athleisure since the outbreak - "from leggings to sweaters, T-shirts and hoodies".

Erica Berchtold, CEO of The Iconic - one of Australia's leading e-comm fashion destinations, reported seeing "a shift in the mix of what people are buying, whether that be loungewear, sweats and hoodies to leisurewear."

Top sellers on the e-comm store over the past week have included activewear pieces from P.E. Nation, including their 'Rebuild' jacket ($167) and Jaggad's signature leggings ($149.95). Jaggad's co-founder Steve Greene said had also noticed a jump in tights and sweater sales since Australia went into lock down.

Read more on athleisure here.
Many retailers who wouldn't traditionally focus on selling loungewear are shifting production to favour the sudden increase in demand by consumers, in order to maintain their cash flow.

Intimates and leisure brand Lively reported seeing a 200% increase in lounge wear sales since March 1.

“Loungewear, kind of suddenly, became the most important category for us, by far,” Founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant told Glossy, “So we immediately began working to make sure it was supported. We’ve been shifting our supply chain, shifting our content and marketing, all of it to focus on the people who are sheltering and working at home."

Despite the virus, influencers are powering ahead with launching their athleisure and activewear brands, with many large influencers launching brands since the beginning of March.

Among them was Danielle Bernstien - Founder of We Wore What who dropped her brand's spring 2020 collection on March 16. In order for her launch to make an impact, Bernstein decided to donate a portion of proceeds to Food Bank NYC and River Fund. On the first day of launch, Bernstein raised $20,000 for those two groups, according to an Instagram post.


Image: Shop We Wore What

Image: Shop We Wore What

Read more about turning your influence into a brand here.

According to Slyletica CEO Simon Rawadi now is the best time to start an activewear or athleisure brand to ensure you're one step ahead of competitors.

"It’s important to understand that building a brand takes time, and people need to think about where shoppers will be in 6-9 months, because that’s when their brand would be ready if they started now. People should also consider that in 6-9 months the entire landscape for how we sell products is also going to shift and change the game for bricks-and-mortar business. Online may very well overtake bricks-and-mortar," Simon said. Read more here.

While it's still too early to understand the long-term impacts COVID-19 will have on people's buying habits, the underlying macro trend is people care about their well-being and health, and we can expect to see a constant increase in people investing in these areas over the next 6 months.

Want to learn more about starting your own athleisure or activewear brand? Contact us at

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