CivicScience conducted a survey of 2,700 U.S. adults to ask about where they typically purchase activewear – clothes used for exercise and other activities. Among the retail outlets studied, survey respondents indicated a preference for Amazon and Walmart.

Men and women shop for activewear differently. Men selected sporting goods stores (23%) the most often while women selected Walmart (21%). Men, more than women, gravitate toward purchasing activewear directly from an athletic brand’s site or store. Women are more diverse in their activewear shopping visiting Target, discount retailers, and Amazon at similar rates.

Brand Name Clothing

Of the major athletic brands CivicScience is tracking, Under Armour is one of the most popular among Americans 18 and older. Favorability ratings for Under Armour surpass those of both Nike and Adidas.

Under Armour favorables do prefer to buy activewear on Amazon but they over-index in their preference to buy activewear from sporting goods stores.

Terminology Differences

Athleisure is a recently popular term for everyday activewear which could be used for exercising, lounging, or working from home. This term garnered particular attention during the pandemic when everyone seemed to be looking for something comfortable to spend their homebound days in. CivicScience polled consumers about a handful of seemingly-related terms and found that activewear, leisurewear, and athleisure could be confusing. 

U.S. adults are pretty sure that activewear and leisurewear are different, but they are much less confident in the difference between activewear and athleisure.

Women are a lot more sure of their understanding of the terminology, but they are more likely than men and the Gen Pop to say “no,” there isn’t a difference between activewear and athleisure. Accordingly, most athleisure marketing is geared toward women.

People who almost never exercise are the most likely to say activewear and athleisure are not any different, but they aren’t actually exercising at the same frequency as avid exercisers. Avid exercisers either say yes, there is a difference, or that they don’t really know.

Using specific terminology in marketing and product development will be key to reaching certain U.S. demographics. Avid exercisers are much less likely to understand the difference (if there is one) between the activewear and athleisure tags on workout clothes. And if they do have an understanding of the two clothing styles, they are more likely to be of the opinion that there is a difference between the two. Exercisers are going to drift toward labels and tags indicating function, whereas the infrequent exerciser probably doesn’t care what the label says because they’re going for comfort and style.