AMID THE RISING popularity of sports among young people, Thailand's sportswear sales are forecast to reach Bt12 billion this year, with the expectation of Bt15 billion in sales five years from now, according to Kasikorn Research Centre.
Exercise-related businesses, particularly sportswear, are growing as people exercise more frequently and for longer periods, KResearch said.
In the first eight months of this year, Thailand imported sportswear worth about US$14.3 million (Bt505 million), up 31.2 per cent year on year.
KResearch urged Thai sportswear operators to take advantage of price gaps, as Thai sportswear brand owners’ marketing strategies could be directed to the participation of sport events and sponsoring of regional and national sport competitions.
Small and medium-sized enterprises in this industry could opt for sportswear fashion and functions.
They could penetrate the niche markets online to develop their brands.
Thailand has about 16 million people participating in sports or exercises and the number is rising, it said.
Although Thailand is one of the sportswear-manufacturing bases for global brands, the country has continued to import foreign sportswear, mostly global brands.
The research house expects local brand owners to benefit from the pricing gaps between global and local brands. Thai products are usually priced about 20-40 per cent lower than imports.
Thai brands’ quality should be brought up to the standard of global brands in terms of properties and functions, KResearch said.
It also urged Thai sportswear brands to build up brand awareness, and participate in sport events such as marathons and cycling, as well as sponsoring regional and national sports competitions.
Given SMEs’ strength in creativity, product differentiation and niche markets, particularly yoga, swimming and weight training, their products should be stylish and unique with reasonable prices.
Beside sports, their products should also be fit for casual wear.
E-commerce is the proper and efficient channel for SMEs with limited capital before brand development and production-line expansion into new customer groups, the research house concluded.