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Why We’re Buying More Sportswear And Gear Than 5 Years Ago

women in athleisure wear

A new study from the guys over at Runners Needs reveals that Brits are investing more in their fitness after the pandemic left us addicted to athleisure wear and so are now buying 73% more sportswear and gear than we were in 2018. 

The comprehensive UK-wide study split 5 years’ worth of data by location, category and gender to reveal how Brits’ sportswear and gear habits are changing. 

On a national level, Scots are the UK’s sportswear and gear fanatics and buy more per capita than any UK nation, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland. 

But the Northern Irish are expanding their sportswear and gear collection the most significantly, with a huge 158% rise in demand in five years – rising to 216% for running accessories. 

In fact, across the UK, sales for running accessories have seen the highest increase – with a 98% increase in demand since 2018, showing that Brits have levelled up their running game and are ‘pimping their run’ more than they were pre-pandemic. 

Urban and regional findings 

Urban residents were less likely to expand their sportswear and gear collection than the average Brit. When looking at the trends just for the most populated towns and cities in each UK nation, the five-year rise dips to 40%. 

In keeping with this, London has the lowest demand for sportswear and gear and was the only region in the study where demand fell since 2018 (by 11%). 

Examining this town and city data, the study found that the English region buying the most per capita is the South East, where sales are 67% above the UK average. But the region with the largest five-year increase is the West Midlands, where demand has risen by 143%. 


Scots are the UK’s biggest sneakerheads, and demand for sports shoes is 48% above average in Scotland.

However, unlike in England and Scotland where accessories are most in demand, in Wales and Northern Ireland the most in-demand items are shoes. 

Northern Ireland also saw the largest increase in trainer sales over the past five years, with demand increasing by 143% since 2018 followed closely by Wales with 135%. 

Regionally within England, sports shoes are most in demand in the South East and East of England although the North East are upping their game – sales for shoes here are 50% higher than they were since 2018, the biggest increase in England.