The sportswear market in China is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11% and reach an estimated $82.8 billion by 2024. Driven by China’s growing middle class, the continuing travel ban and the 415 million millennials turning to fitness, let’s take a closer look at this attractive market.
The growth of health awareness
Gym memberships have doubled in the country since 2008. And while the Chinese government is encouraging its population to actively take part in sports activities and build a higher level of public service system for physical activity (to tackle health problems but also to become a global player in athletic activities), the pandemic created a wave of online workouts, pushing health and wellness on people’s priorities and increasing the demand for sports apparels and accessories. Hoodies and yoga pants are more and more accepted as everyday clothing, creating an impact on China’s fashion trends.
The switch to local brands
Adidas and Nike lead the sportswear market, with a third of market share for them both combined. Their reputation gives them a luxury perception among the population but domestic companies are intensifying the competition. Chinese sports giants Li Ning and Anta launched their sports lines, surfing on the GuoChao trend (or pride of local brands), with heritage-inspired design, while creating an international strategy to score extra points in their local brand image. Li Ning debuted its collection in New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, while Anta is partnering with the Chinese Delegation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Look out for niche sports
As any other markets, communities and influencers are keys and reflect on trends shifts. The market has witnessed emerging brands taking up a niche in the sportswear market in China. Yoga and Pilates was gained by the Canadian Lululemon, while Maia Active heavily featured frisbee in its campaign post, the new popular activity among young urban chinese. Capitalizing on sports trends is as important as creating a good product.
In this uncertain economic context, the Chinese population is increasingly embracing an active lifestyle as a stress relief. It has been true Worldwide but nowhere is the phenomenon more pronounced than in China, making sportswear a very promising market to enter.