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Sportswear edging luxury in China

News, 17 March 2016

SHANGHAI: Chinese shoppers are choosing to spend on high-tech sportswear in lieu of luxury, as ultra-premium goods becomes less appealing in difficult economic times.

Government promotion of sport ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and increased awareness of health and wellbeing among consumers has boosted local and international sportwear brands.

This trend is likely to be buoyed by more than 900,000 stadiums and gyms that will be built across the country by 2025, according to government estimates.

Wealthy Chinese shoppers are looking to spend their money on GPS watches, "athleisure" fashion and specialist sportswear such as compression leggings, as well as gym memberships and "active" travelling.

Euromonitor reports that the sportswear sector is projected to generate double-digit growth each year to reach US$43.10bn by 2020, compared with luxury's single digit growth to US$29.5bn over the same period.

International brands such as UnderArmor and Lululemon are going head to head with local Chinese brands, with UnderArmor anticipating 25% growth year on year in China over the next two years.

Adidas is also set to open 3,000 more stores in China, with a particular focus on children's sports apparel as China's one child rule loosens and new opportunities arise to target parents.

According to Bloomberg, Greater China now makes up an estimated 15% of global sales for Adidas, up from 12% in 2014.

A recent annual report indicated that its sales in the region surged 38% to US$2.7bn in 2015, with the company's forecast buoyant despite China's slowdown.

Data sourced from Bloomberg China Daily; additional content by Warc staff