Lululemon is insanely popular — and that’s terrible news for the brand


Lululemon is all the rage.

The brand’s pricey yoga pants are frequently sited as one of the top trends for teens. Celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Kylie Jenner have been spotted wearing the gear.

And with 300 stores, Lululemon is just getting started. Analysts at Morgan Stanley write that they expect the brand to become even bigger in the coming years.

But the near-ubiquity of Lululemon could be terrible news for the brand.

Widespread popularity is the “kiss of death for trendy fashion brands, particularly those positioned in the up-market younger consumer sectors,” industry expert Robin Lewis writes on his blog.

Lewis cites Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger, which saw sales crash after widespread popularity.

Lululemon is considered an aspirational brand, with consumers paying a premium for its label. Once everyone has the product, it’s no longer considered cool.

Other brands that have experienced this phenomenon include Juicy Couture, Jordache, and Coach.

And some loyal customers have started to turn on the brand, citing declining quality and higher prices.

The brand has faced several product recalls in recent years, most notably when it recalled 17% of pants for being too sheer in 2013. Some consumers say they pay for old products for a premium on eBay rather than shell out for questionable new merchandise.

Lululemon yoga handstand

Lululemon also recently raised the prices on some pants, which
infuriated its clientele.

The price hikes come at a time when Lululemon is facing more competition than ever, Neil Saunders, managing director of industry research firm Conlumino told Business Insider.

With emerging rivals like rapidly-expanding Under Armour, Gap’s Athleta, and shoe brand New Balance entering the women’s athletic sector, Lululemon will have to stay on its toes to attract customers.

This means offering a value that is better than competitors.

“Five or so years ago, this would not have been so much of a threat,” Saunders explained to Business Insider. “Now, with much greater levels of competition, this is a far riskier move. Higher prices run the risk of alienating some customers who can easily defect to other brands.”

Lululemon’s pants were already more expensive than many competitors. Now, most of its pants range from $US88 to $US98, compared with $US31 to $US89 for Athleta pants.

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