Speedo: Leading the Swimwear Market

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR327 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
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Market leader strategies / Growth strategy
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2002-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Speedo International Limited
Industry : Swimwear
Countries : UK; Global


This case is about Speedo International Limited, a part of the London-based Pentland Group, Plc. Speedo is the world's leading swimwear brand. The case highlights the strategies adopted by the company to maintain its position in the global swimwear market. Founded in 1914, Speedo was a pioneer in sports fashion wear. Competitive swimsuits were a core focus area of Speedo. Since its inception, Speedo had been innovating in the competitive swimsuit market to manufacture suits aimed to enhance the performance of swimmers. Over the years, its swimsuits had been hailed as innovative and athletes sporting its swimsuits had won prizes and broken records in various swimming events. More recently, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Speedo was the biggest brand success story.

Athletes competing in Speedo swimsuits won 47 medals and broke 23 world records. As of 2008, in the US$200 million performance swimwear market, Speedo was the market leader with about 60% of the market share.

The case discusses the strategy adopted by Speedo, particularly its technology strategy and how it emphasized the fashion aspect of the brand. The case also discusses the promotion and distribution strategy of Speedo - how Speedo enhanced its brand image by sponsoring world-class athletes, etc. The case also discusses the competitors of Speedo and the controversy surrounding its new swimsuit, the LZR Racer, which some critics felt was giving the wearer an unfair advantage. The case concludes with the challenges faced by Speedo in the performance swimwear market which had a significant effect on the brand's overall performance. With FINA formulating new guidelines for swimwear manufacturers worldwide, designing new suits while adhering to the new rules was expected to be the biggest challenge for Speedo. Another challenge before the company was to convert the high visibility and publicity gained by the Speedo LZR Racer in the Olympics to sales of all the products in its overall swimwear portfolio.


Study the business strategy adopted by Speedo - a market leader in the swimwear market.

Understand how Speedo attained market leadership in the global swimwear market.

Examine the marketing strategies adopted by Speedo.

Analyze its position in the swimwear market and identify the future challenges before Speedo.

Explore strategies that Speedo could adopt to maintain its leadership position and improve its position in the swimwear market.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Speedo Products - Combining Technology and Fashion 3
Two-Pronged Strategy 5
Sponsorship 6
Speedo as a Fashion Brand 7
Distribution 11
Competitors 12
Challenges 13
Exhibits 15


Strategy, Market leader strategies, Marketing, Distribution, Product design and development, Elite swimwear market, High-end swimsuit market, Performance swimsuit market, Beachwear market, Fashion brand, Pentland Group Plc, Speedo International Limited, FINA regulations, Fastskin, Speedo LZR Racer, Warnaco Group, Inc., Aqualab, Comme des Garcons

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