Jeff Fromm, a consultant from the research company FutureCast, believes Lululemon, Nike and Under Armour have differentiated themselves from other companies as more superior. Fromm said on a Forbes contributor post that this is because all three brands sell more than just apparel – they sell communities and ideologies.
“Unlike the less successful retailers who entered the space, these brands prove their missions and have communities to back them up,” he writes. “Nike is based on the idea that if you have a body, you are an athlete. Under Armour focuses on making athletes better with passion, empowerment and design. Lululemon’s manifesto centers itself on creating a community of health, mindfulness and living a life of possibility.”
For example, Lululemon is mostly known for their community of yoga lovers, as they promote their own classes. Having a strong community within a brand is especially appealing for young people. Community brands as a whole have created a lot of buzz recently (such as CrossFit or SoulCycle). This, along with the fact that millennials like to spend money on experiences, explains why youths are more willing to spend money on fitness classes as well.
Nike’s running clubs, Lululemon’s yoga classes, and Under Armour’s digital running challenges all encourage a experiences and foster communities that revolve around their products.
The athleisure clothing business is only continuing to grow more and more as brands are catching onto its profitability. However, only brands with a strong and clear mentality and a distinct sense of community will be able to separate themselves from the rest and capture the heart and wallets of millennials.