Health And Wellness Will Be a Top Priority for Consumers Post-COVID, Lululemon Analysts Predict
By Mary Hanbury
Lululemon reported its first-quarter earnings results on Thursday. Sales fell by 17% overall despite strong growth online, indicating that even the athleisurewear giant – which was is thought to have benefited from more people shopping for comfortable clothing and workout gear during the lockdown – wasn’t immune from the impact of the pandemic.
But analysts are still confident in the brand and say that it could actually emerge stronger than ever post-lockdown thanks to an upcoming fitness and wellness boom, which it is well-positioned to capitalize from, they say.
“Clearly, Lululemon was a winner prior to the pandemic, but we believe that it will emerge even stronger,” Jefferies analyst Randal Konik wrote in a note to clients on Friday.
He continued: “We expect accelerated consumer gravitation toward fitness/wellness apparel in the wake of COVID-19, of which Lululemon should capture outsized share.”
Konik then referenced recent data from NPD, which showed that the brand had achieved its highest quarterly market share gain in athletic apparel in recent years in the most recent quarter.
In the short-term, the pandemic has meant that people are spending more money on leisurewear and athletic wear while kept at home during the lockdown. But in the long-term, experts say Lululemon also stands to benefit as consumers become more health and wellness obsessed than before.
“The good news is this is a health crisis,” Jason Kelly, author of “Sweat Equity” said in a recent conversation with Business Insider. “So a focus on health and wellness is going to be a bigger part of this.”
Marc Magliacano, a managing partner at L Catterton – a private-equity firm that is invested in Peloton and SoulCycle-owned Equinox among other fitness concepts – echoed these thoughts in a recent phone conversation with Business Insider:
“Many of the adverse health issues related to COVID infections were a function of obesity – people are going to now more than ever begin to re-think their approach to overall health and wellness.
“I know we say that each and every time a macro health concern surfaced but COVID has brought the issue to light of how vulnerable the obese and the severely overweight are in this country,” he said.
This “renewed and heightened interest” in wellness should play into the hands of athletic wear brands as consumers spend more money on workout gear, NPD analyst Matt Powell said in a recent blog post.
“In addition to the lockdown providing a greater incentive for people to exercise at home or be active in the open air, I believe this illness has also motivated people to adopt healthier habits,” he said, and ultimately, an increased interest in a healthy lifestyle bodes well for the sports and athletics wear brands, he added.