Which athletic brand is gaining market share? Year-over-year online purchase analysis

 In Behavioral Analysis, Case Studies, Competitive Analysis, conversion trends, E-commerce Marketing, Featured, Growth, Popular, Site Analysis, Trends

A decade ago, Lululemon’s supreme popularity created a new market for yoga apparel. While the company still maintains brand-name recognition — Lululemon is almost a generic trademark for yoga pants — a new crop of brands like Athleta and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics have been gaining momentum.

To understand which brand is dominating the online market and whether Lululemon is losing steam, we analyzed the market share of the leading athletic wear brands, based on online purchases. We found that Athleta and Fabletics have the biggest rivalry, as they directly compete for the largest share of online purchases. Read on for our full data-driven shopping analysis.

Lululemon is losing market share to the new activewear brands

We analyzed online sales of the four leading women’s athletic wear brands – Athleta, Fabletics, Lululemon, and Prana – in the US between January and October 2016. We then compared the online activity to the same time period in 2015 to detect each brand’s market share and year-over-year trends. We found that Athleta and Fabletics came in first and second for market share in 2015 and 2016, respectively, while Lululemon has consistently claimed third place.

Athleta and Fabletics have the highest share of purchases, accounting together for 73 percent of US online purchases in 2015 and 2016. However, while Fabletics’ market share grew by 17 percent in 2016, Athleta saw a 15 percent YoY decrease. Every month from January to October 2016, Fabletics gained significant market share on Athleta, driving Fabletics to the top spot.

Lululemon came in third and saw a 10 percent decrease in market share from 2015. Between January and October 2016, Lululemon only accounted for 18 percent of the market share. Prana came in last with a 7 percent market share in 2016, following a 12 percent YoY increase.

Time frame Athleta Fabletics Lululemon Prana
Jan – Oct 2015 41% 32% 20% 6%
Jan- Oct 2016 35% 38% 18% 7%

Monthly callouts

When comparing changes in market share by month we found that only one brand saw consistent YoY growth: Fabletics. Since May 2016, Fabletics has experienced double digit growth in market share which peaked in August when the brand saw a 37 percent YoY increase. On the flip side, Athleta saw YoY decreases every month in its share of purchases.  

What else? In October 2016, Lululemon gained market share for the first time. Prana experienced the largest YoY growth in market share among all four brands, and gained 63 percent in YoY market share in July.

Here’s the full breakdown of YoY changes to brand market share on a monthly bases:

Month Athleta Fabletics Lululemon Prana
1/2016 -5% 3% -2% 8%
2/2016 -1% 8% -21% 3%
3/2016 -8% 12% -4% -16%
4/2016 -3% 8% -17% -1%
5/2016 -21% 40% -23% 8%
6/2016 -12% 12% -13% 32%
7/2016 -14% 14% -8% 63%
8/2016 -29% 37% -18% 15%
9/2016 -22% 10% -2% 29%
10/2016 -31% 28% 7% -6%
Total -15% 17% -10% 12%

Bottom line: Our market share analysis for women’s athletic wear brands’ online sales yielded unique insights on the yearly and monthly level. While Fabletics and Athleta lead for market share in 2016, a month-by-month analysis reveals that Fabletics has consistently gained traction throughout the year, while Athleta has lost market share with every passing month. This just goes to show that yearly round-ups can indicate the direction of a company, but granular information might reveal opposing trends, as in the case of Athleta.

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