Skip links

Athletic Apparel Industry Challenges and Opportunities in 2021

The year 2021 and the global community are still healing from the pandemic’s effects that dominated most of the previous year. However, with the dawn of a vaccine, players in different industries see a ray of hope. However, other industries like the sporting industries are still yet to recover, as they are currently facing some challenges.

The sporting world is full of uncertainties, with some sporting events in different countries yet to resume. These uncertainties have a major effect on the production level of sportswear companies.

Challenges facing the apparel industry

Cost of Procuring raw materials

With the economy has suffered a major hit during the last financial year, most athletic apparel companies suffered a huge loss. This is especially due to the halt in sporting activities across the globe. With insufficient funds and the constantly rising cost of buying raw materials, the industry faces a hard time.

Aside from the rising cost, there has been a general increase in the cost of transforming the raw materials into finished products. These costs are a heavy burden that is currently weighing down, not just the athletic apparel industry but also the entire clothing industry.


Like any other clothing industry, this sector has been accused of practicing forced labor over the years. With poor working conditions, the industry is still set to experience go-slows in a bid to demand better working conditions and wages.

The recent pandemic has also caused a major blow to this sector, having claimed several lives, some of whom were potential labor sources. The pandemic has also pushed for further advocating for a safe working environment. The issue regarding the labor force are dynamic and need to be constantly addressed for optimal operation.


One of the most hit sectors of the economy was the transport and logistics department. This is due to the restriction of movement, with some regions still experiencing the global pandemic’s adverse effects. The apparel industry needs its logistic department to always be on the go, moving merchandise, raw materials, and even personnel to different locations.

However, some of these logistics needs cannot be met currently due to government directives in specific areas. Another challenge in the transport sector is the increasing fuel prices. An increase in fuel prices affects the apparel industry’s general aspects, especially for companies that rely on countries providing cheap labor to make their wear.

The cost of transporting finished products from these locations is continuously becoming expensive, a fete most athletic apparel industries cannot cope with.

Public relations

Regardless of their nature, every industry depends on a good public image to facilitate exponential growth. Negative publicity can not only affect your sales but also your company’s operations. The growing generation is a major concern that the industry should take into account.

The modern generation is highly dependent on social influencers to make decisions on what they need to buy and what they need to shun. Dubbed ‘millennials,’ this generation is fast gaining a foothold in decision-making spheres. With a say on what the industry sells, they are also increasingly creating awareness on the methods of production and raw materials used.

Their primary focus is on environmental protection for a sustainable future. Their campaign drives the apparel industry to adopt new modes of operation without considering these companies’ financial implications.

Culture and Race

These two aspects of the community have always been a sensitive matter across the globe. Any company brand’s miscommunication interpreted as prejudice against any ethnic group can adversely affect the company, especially in this digital error.

Social media has been a good platform for spreading the latest sporting outfit the brand is realizing soon. Despite its numerous benefits, these platforms are also the best way to spread the boycott campaign against any brand perceived to be racist or has any prejudice against a group of people.

Like any other clothing industry, the athletic apparel industry needs to take into account the feelings and sensitivity of every person regardless of who or where they come from. This will help them stay ahead of any possible challenges coming from a negative campaign.

This industry is constantly facing challenges that it needs to iron out to boost its image among the consumers and increase its revenue.