Lululemon Athletica charges about $20 more for a pair of basic yoga pants than Gap Inc.'s Athleta simply because it knows women will pay for the brand.
Lululemon's $98 pair looks almost exactly like Athleta's $79 pants. The materials, a mixture of nylon and Lycra, are also the same.
Athleta also makes its yoga pants with its own patented material — called Pilayo — which is 88% nylon and 12% Lycra.
Both are advertised as stretchy, breathable, and moisture-wicking.
The only real difference we found between the two pairs of pants is that Lululemon's has a hidden waistband pocket. So is that pocket worth $20?
Probably not, which has led some analysts to wonder whether Lululemon can keep its prices so high as the yoga apparel market gets increasingly crowded.
"Our biggest concern [with Lululemon's business] lies with the flood of new competition, " Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar wrote in a recent research note. "With few barriers to entry and new, well-capitalized entrants possessing the capability to innovate and grow quickly, we think pricing pressure will increase."
Nike, Under Armour and Reebok sell comparable yoga pants for $95, $59.99, and $38, respectively. Nike's pants are 86% nylon and 14% spandex, Under Armour's are a mixture of nylon and elastane, and Reebok's are 90% cotton and 10% spandex.
Lululemon has long had a loyal following that has helped the company fend off the pressures of growing competition. But that loyalty has begun to erode, according Weishaar.
"Lulu has now fallen victim to its success, " she wrote. "With yoga increasing in popularity, active-wear commanding some of the best pricing premiums in the apparel space, and athletic garb increasingly worn for purposes other than exercise, the formerly niche market has become mainstream, and competition is flooding the space.
"Add to that a diverse array of company-specific challenges including supply-chain management, brand image, and management troubles, and we have the perfect storm pressuring stock performance."