What the Athleisure Trend Reveals about How to Achieve Market Relevance

Nov 6, 2019

We’ve talked before about how gaining a deeper understanding of your market position and the people who are driving it can help you stay relevant and grow your brand. Surveying consumers and combining those results with big data can tell you if brand growth is possible through a customer acquisition strategy or a customer retention one.

To continue our exploration around this topic, we studied the booming athleisure trend by focusing on a couple of leading brands — Reebok in the women’s category and The North Face in the men’s category. Athleisure took off in the early 2000s, by some accounts, and it’s been a huge business ever since. Even with its continued popularity, athleisure brands big and small still have to take into account shifts in consumer demands if they want to remain competitive.

Let’s take a closer look at our market findings for Reebok and The North Face to see what you can learn about your own market position and growth potential when you combine specific survey data with big data.

Determining a market position

One way to determine if you can effectively grow your brand within your category or if your brand is at risk of decline is to look at behavioral loyalty and attitudinal equity.

To review, behavioral loyalty is when the customer consistently buys your brand no matter what. Attitudinal equity is a measure of how well your brand psychologically meets the customer’s needs or desires. Customer acquisition becomes possible when you can leverage whatever advantage your brand may have in attitudinal equity.

We measured market share and attitudinal equity within the competitive field for Reebok (women’s athleisure) and The North Face (men’s athleisure) and found that both brands were poised for growth with brand (attitudinal) equity that was greater than its market share. This meant they could leverage their attitudinal equity to increase their market share through customer acquisition by a gap percentage, as you can see in the graphs below:

Understanding the acquisition opportunity across a category

So what’s the opportunity here for both brands?

To determine the percentage of new customers that Reebok and The North Face could acquire, we broke up category consumers into Your Loyals, Your Flight Risks, Their Flight Risks, Their Loyals, and Rejectors.

To define:

  • Your Loyals are the segment of your customers who purchase your brand most often and rate it highly
  • Your Flight Risks are the segment who purchase your brand most often but don’t rate it highly
  • Their Flight Risks are the segment of customers who purchase from a competitor most often but don’t rate that competitor highly
  • Their Loyals are the segment who purchase from a competitor most often and rate it highly
  • Rejectors are the customers who say they will never purchase your brand

Your Flight Risks and Their Flight Risks are where the potential lies for customers to switch brands.

As you can see below, Reebok had an opportunity to acquire up to 30% of current category purchasers from its competitors, which was at least 6.19 million new customers.

The North Face came in a little less with an opportunity to acquire up to 26% of current category purchasers — at least 4.53 million new customers.

Once you have the numbers, understanding the purchase considerations of your segment of new, acquirable customers helps you know how to further target and speak to them.

For Reebok, the new customers they could acquire in the women’s athleisure category were most concerned with price, fit as expected, quality, and sizes available.

For The North Face, answers were similar, with new customers they could acquire in the men’s athleisure category mainly concerned with quality, price, and fit as expected.

Reaching customers at the right time and in the right place

Once you understand what’s driving purchases within your segment of new, acquirable customers, it’s critical to also know how to reach them. For example, what media sources do they prefer? And which times of day are they sitting down in front of a television or doing something online when they’d be more likely to notice your ads or messages?

We found that Reebok’s potential new customers were watching traditional TV, using mobile apps, and surfing websites. Reebok could expect to reach them between 8-11 p.m. on the music channels on TV, between 5-11 p.m. on Facebook, or between 5-8 p.m. via email when customers were surfing the web.

The North Face’s potential new customers were watching traditional TV and surfing websites, too, but were also streaming TV. So The North Face could expect to reach them between 5-11 p.m. on the MSNBC news channel, between 5-8 p.m. via email, and between 8-11 p.m. on iTunes.

Using this information, Reebok and The North Face could help secure their new customer segments with targeted ads, and even learn what messaging to craft that was specifically geared toward the unique personality traits of their respective customer segments.

How the athleisure trend will play out in the years to come for both women’s and men’s categories will remain to be seen. But regardless of the industry you’re in, you can take a similar approach toward understanding your market position so you can keep up with evolving consumer demands and achieve brand relevance.

If you’d like to see how this applies to the pizza category, check out this infographic.

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© 2019 GutCheck is a registered trademark of Brainyak, Inc. All rights reserved.