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Sportswear Industry: How Brands Can Leverage Customer Insights for Growth

The global sportswear market was valued at USD 182.01 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow significantly, reaching $193.89 billion in 2023 and projected to reach $305.67 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 6.72%.

customer experience
The sportswear industry has strongly emphasized customer experience in recent years


The analysis is based on customer reviews and conversations online in the segment. The analysis results presented are completely unbiased and not based on any subjective judgment. The source data used for the analysis are user conversations available publicly online like public forums and social media.


Total number of customer conversations analyzed 31, 775

Executive Summary - Customer Experience Insights From the Sportswear Industry


The sportswear industry has strongly emphasized customer experience in recent years. This has been demonstrated through various initiatives, such as the personalization of products, the use of technology in the shopping experience, and the creation of immersive brand experiences.


Additionally, many sportswear companies have also focused on sustainability and ethical manufacturing, which can contribute to a positive customer experience. Overall, the industry is constantly evolving to meet customers' changing needs and expectations.


But, the pandemic also affected this industry since the economic impact at this time influenced customers' buying decisions.


This report aims to uncover the exciting insights hidden in sportswear customer behavior by scrutinizing the insights from all aspects by segmenting the audience bases by male and female as well as the upper wear and bottom wear from January 2022 to October 2022.


Customer Reviews Across Top Brands

Top 5 Category Drivers Of The Sportswear Industry

Sportswear customers have reported their reviews based on so many aspects. But, the most seen aspects of customer reviews are the following 5 drivers.

  1. Size and Fit is the top driver that attracted more customer reviews, as the customers are primarily athletes and people who hike and work out. So, they need to feel more fit and comfortable with the size of the dress they wear.

  2. Material and Fabric and Quality also play a massive role in the performance and comfort of customers. They should feel light and breathable with the apparel.

  3. Looks and Style also matter a lot when it comes to sportswear. People like to wear vibrant and appealing colors that enhance their personality, fashion, style and look.

Drill Down into Top Drivers By Upper Wear & Bottom Wear

It’s important to check deep into the customer experience drivers of upper wear and bottom wear as per customer reviews on both.

1. Upper Wear: The top 3 drivers for upper wear are the same as the general category drivers mentioned above. In addition, color stands out as an essential factor for customers when it comes to upper wear. Vibrant colors allow customers to express their personality, style, and fashion choices.

2. Bottom Wear: In the case of bottom wear, comfort occupies the 4th position among the top drivers. Considering the physical demands of activities such as sports and workouts, customers value well-fitting and breathable bottom wear that enables seamless motion and allows for optimal performance.


Drill Down to Other Top Drivers of Upper Wear and Bottom Wear

On both upper and bottom wear, the first 2 drivers, other than the top 5 drivers, are the same. The sports activities seem comparatively positive on both, while the purchase experience is relatively negative on both segments.

1. Upper Wear: Sports activities generate relatively positive feedback from customers, emphasizing the importance of apparel that supports their specific athletic needs. On the other hand, customers express concerns over compression issues, as the right degree of compression is crucial for improving blood flow, reducing muscle soreness, and enhancing recovery.

2. Bottom Wear: Customers frequently report dissatisfaction with the fit of sportswear designed for taller or more muscular individuals. To cater to a diverse customer base, sportswear brands must introduce product variations that accommodate different body types, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.


Customers Verbatim

“i bought this as a gift for my partner and after 3 times wearing casually (not for sport, not in contact with any outside object) and no washing yet under arm near elbow area completely wore off and shows a lot of excessive lints like the cloth has been used for ages not just 3 times!”


“its slightly shorter in real life than it looks on the model (i’m guessing she's wearing at least 2 sizes larger than she would normally wear to get that length since she looks to be on the taller side)”


“i got these pants a year ago, and noticed that there is a hole in the back that came from wear not from something snagging (i do not wear them frequently).”


“everyone is saying "nice compression" even saw someone say "thick material good quality" its the thinnest shirt i own and there is no compression at all.”


“this was a lot tighter/compressing than i expected as i’ve worn the same size in other styles.”

“i just got them and i would say it's more of a mid-rise than high-rise, and i get such a cameltoe because of the large seam between the legs.”


Customer Review Analysis Based on Gender

Male customers tend to provide more reviews compared to their female counterparts, pointing to a larger volume of male customers in the sportswear industry. This aligns with the availability of a greater variety of options for men, highlighting an opportunity for brands to cater to the growing demand for female-centric sportswear collections.

Top Category Drivers for Male and Female Customers

Male and female customers share four out of the top five category drivers: Size and Fit, Material and Fabric, Looks and Style, and Color. However, there are notable differences in their priorities as well.

1. Male Customers: Quality gains more prominence for male customers, indicating their emphasis on durable and premium products. Looks and style also hold significant importance for men's sportswear, while comfort ranks lower in priority for this demographic.

2. Female Customers: Comfort takes on greater significance for female customers, aligning with their focus on finding sportswear that allows them to perform at their best while still feeling comfortable. Women also place greater importance on the color of their sportswear, indicating their preference for garments that add vibrancy to their wardrobe.


Drill Down to Other Top Drivers of Male and Female Customers

Apart from the top five category drivers, additional factors emerge when analyzing customer reviews for male and female customers.

1. Male Customers: The presence of pockets in sportswear garners significant attention from male customers who require storage space for essentials while engaging in physical activities. Compression plays a crucial role for men, as they seek sportswear that enhances performance and prevents injuries.

2. Female Customers: Negative reviews from female customers often revolve around usage issues. To address this, brands must ensure that their product descriptions clearly outline the suitable applications and activities for each garment. Female customers also express concerns about their purchase experience, underscoring the importance of providing a pleasant and enjoyable shopping journey.


Customers Verbatim

“they don’t pinch at the waist, they don’t ride, comfortable w/ cell phone pocket and regular pockets.”


“you have a short that feels stiff and tight, restricts movement, and doesn't look so great after a couple washes.”


“i recently bought the white shirt though and after washing a few times and lying flat to dry, the shirt has developed weird splotchiness/discoloration.”


“after one wear they seem to stretch out at in the knee area”


“also, the first time wearing them they seemed to stretch out as i wore them, and did not stay up.”


“hugely disappointed as i was expecting the same thing as my first pair.”


Price Analysis: SKUs with the Highest Growth Based on Customer Reviews

An emerging trend within the sportswear industry is the increased consumption of affordable clothing in both the upper wear and bottom wear categories. Items priced at or below $50 consistently garner high levels of consumption and positive customer reviews, highlighting the affordability factor as a key driver for customers.

This trend is due to the increasing cost of living and the economic impact of the pandemic. This forces people to spend less on their necessities like clothing.

If brands provide excellent quality products at these affordable prices, they can capture a huge market share.


Top Customer Experience Drivers Across All Price Bands

Regardless of price range, the lowest price band (below $50) consistently generates positive customer reviews. Notably, customers perceive greater value for their money in this price band, particularly in terms of comfort, quality, looks and style, and size and fit.

Conversely, negative customer reviews are more prevalent for the purchase experience and usage across the two top price bands. Customers who spend a significant amount of money on their sportswear have higher expectations regarding quality and overall experience. Failure to meet these expectations leads to dissatisfaction. Consequently, brands must focus on providing a seamless purchase journey and ensuring clear product descriptions to minimize negative feedback.


Brand Experience Across Top Category Drivers

In order to assess and compare the customer experiences of top brands, an analysis was conducted across various categories. The findings reveal that Rhone, Reebok, and Adidas perform well in different aspects of customer satisfaction.

Rhone emerges as a strong competitor, earning the top rank in categories such as material and fabric, looks and style, and quality. This indicates that Rhone is highly praised by customers for the materials used in their products, the aesthetic appeal and style, as well as the overall quality of their offerings. Rhone also performs impressively in size, fit, and color, receiving the second-highest rank in these categories. These results demonstrate that customers appreciate Rhone's attention to detail and ability to deliver products that meet their expectations in terms of size, fit, and color.

Reebok performs well in the color category and maintains an average rating in other areas. This suggests that customers are satisfied with the color options provided by Reebok and that they generally have positive experiences across other aspects of Reebok's offerings.

Adidas is another brand that excels in material and fabric, looks and style, and quality. Customers have praised Adidas for the quality of their materials, the stylish design of their products, and the overall level of quality provided.


Customer Experience Across Top Brands

After analyzing the customer feedback, it has come to our attention that Nike faces an issue with size and fit, as many customers have raised complaints regarding this aspect. Additionally, usage satisfaction is an area of concern for Lululemon, Under Armour, Nike, and Reebok.

On the other hand, Adidas has received positive feedback across all category drivers, indicating a strong customer experience. This suggests that Adidas has successfully met customer expectations in terms of quality, fit, and usage, among other factors.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that comfort plays a significant role in contributing to positive customer experiences across all these top brands. Customers value comfort, and brands should focus on delivering products that prioritize this aspect.

By prioritizing customer feedback and continuously evaluating their performance, brands can ensure that they meet customer expectations and maintain a strong competitive position in the market.



The sportswear industry plays a crucial role in the overall customer experience through various initiatives, including personalization, technology integration, and immersive brand experiences. By understanding customer behavior and key drivers, brands can create tailored strategies to meet evolving customer needs and expectations.

Additionally, bridging existing gaps in gender-specific offerings, prioritizing comfort and sustainability, and ensuring affordability provide significant opportunities for sportswear brands looking to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Detailed Report

You can access the detailed report here.

Source: Clootrack


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