Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

New report highlights e-commerce opportunities for brands in international athleisure markets … Oban International

Athleisure markets’ global growth driven by authenticity and aspiration. Oban International the global digital marketing specialist, has published a report identifying the differing perceptions of athleisure brands – apparel brands combining athletics and leisure styles –  globally.

The report highlights international e-commerce opportunities for brands in international athleisure markets using digital marketing to drive e-commerce growth.

Oban worked with its LIME (Local In-Market Experts) network to assess how athleisure is perceived in different markets. The report analysed a cross-section of markets with both established e-commerce and cross-border trade infrastructure, and also emerging markets.

Athleisure is now worth more than £194 billion globally (Morgan Stanley Research). The trend originated in the US, but global high-street brands, gyms and workout companies, are creating their own athleisure clothing lines to grab a slice of this lucrative market.

Oban’s founder, Greig Holbrook, comments: “The findings in our report indicate that there is a strong appetite for athleisure apparel internationally. This is driven by the value consumers place on non-local brands and their aspirations to own them.

However, there are several barriers to entry that should be noted and may preclude full adoption of the trend in some countries. These factors include price sensitivity, cultural and social conventions, and emerging native brands. Athleisure brands must ensure these considerations are at the centre of any local market strategy.”


Using insight from the report, Oban identified five key factors that athleisure brands must consider for international expansion:

  • 1.Athleisure fashion is still a foreign concept in many international markets such as Japan and India. This is largely a result of unfamiliar cultural traditions that differ from the West. As a result, athleisure products may need to be adapted to align with these conventions. Promotions, traditional and digital PR, and advertising, will be crucial for fostering grass-roots awareness.

  • 2.The global financial crisis has left many economies, such as Argentina and Brazil, volatile. It is important that athleisure brands strike a balance of affordability and aspirational pull for the target audience in each specific market.

  • 3.Across all global markets, Millennials are the primary consumers for athleisure brands. Athleisure brands must build strong Millennial communities. This can be achieved by using data capture to identify regular points of communication, and build a tailored digital strategy to communicate a clear and authentic message. Millennials are passionate about their brands and UK athleisure providers need to add value and purpose through content that helps people live healthy lives.

  • 4.UK athleisure brands must leverage the power of influencers and celebrities who are both authentic to the brand and target consumers.

  • 5.Athleisure brands must understand which social media platforms are most important in each market, and how they are used by different Millennials in those locations. Paid social campaigns can be an effective way of building an integrated campaign to raise brand awareness and drive sales.

To read Oban International’s full report please email

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