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Activewear gaining ground in China, Euromonitor study

"Till now, the US used to be main market for athleisure companies but now, the table seems to be turning towards China. The market of activewear/athilesiure in the US with a population of 321 million people is estimated at $44 billion, says a NPD Group study. While the category is expected to continue to grow trend as per Morgan Stanley forecasts will reach $83 billion by 2020. With rising enthusiasm for sports activities, more local consumers are engaged in various forms of physical exercises amidst accelerating pace of life and mounting work-life pressures."

 

 

Activewear gaining ground in China

 

Till now, the US used to be main market for athleisure companies but now, the table seems to be turning towards China. The market of activewear/athilesiure in the US with a population of 321 million people is estimated at $44 billion, says a NPD Group study. While the category is expected to continue to grow trend as per Morgan Stanley forecasts will reach $83 billion by 2020. With rising enthusiasm for sports activities, more local consumers are engaged in various forms of physical exercises amidst accelerating pace of life and mounting work-life pressures.

But the Chinese market is brimming with opportunities. At nearly 1.4 billion people that dwarfs America. It began exploring national fitness policies as far back as 1978. Following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the president of China, Hu Jintao, announced a government-backed sports-for-all fitness policy.

Growth Triggers for Activewear

Activewear gaining ground in China Euromonitor study

 

Higher disposable income is also one of the many reasons for growing popularity in China. According to National Bureau of Statistics, China’s per capita disposable income increased 6.3 per cent year-on-year. IBISWorld’s Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs market research report shows the industry was set to generate $5.81 billion last year, an 11.8 per cent annualised growth between 2011 and 2016. Activewear study shows consumers who buy athletic apparel work out at least three times per week.

Euromonitor International did a Sportswear in China survey and found running to be increasing in popularity because it does not require a specific field or equipment, with low entry barriers for ordinary consumers. Meanwhile, runners can eagerly and easily share their successes via their personal social media accounts such as WeChat, to have a sense of accomplishment. The rising passion for running amongst average consumers gave rise to the rapid growth of running footwear and apparel.

Activewear is not just for exercise

The Activewear study showed they also wear it for running errands (40 per cent), shopping (42 per cent), around the house (39 per cent), out to eat or a movie (33 per cent), and doing yard work outside (27 per cent). Nearly 6 out of 10 consumers (59 per cent) choose activewear for other activities because it’s comfortable. Regardless of activity preference or exercise level, cotton (47 per cent) is by far the overall fabric preference for activewear, followed by cotton blends (20 per cent), rayon (7 per cent), and polyester (4 per cent), according to the Activewear study. Further, 69 per cent says it’s the only fabric/one of the few fabrics they consider when shopping for athletic apparel.

Chinese consumers currently do not own a lot of activewear pieces. On average, they own 2.5 T-shirts, 2 compression or tight-fitting shirts, 2 tank tops or sleeveless shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, and 2 pairs of pants. The Euromonitor research found athleisure is popular with younger consumers who wear it on a daily basis. More sports-inspired apparel brands aim to enhance their brand awareness and reputation by cooperating with fashion and sports media. In addition, these brands often incorporate popular topics or elements in their products, to set trends by launching limited editions. Vans, for example, joined with Disney and introduced a ‘Toy Story’ series.

The Activewear study finds Nike (26 per cent) and Adidas (20 per cent) are the top activewear brands purchased in China by all consumers, whether they are light or heavy exercisers, or even if they don’t exercise at all. With the rising enthusiasm for sports activities, more local consumers are engaged in various forms of physical exercise to keep fit amidst the accelerating pace of life and mounting pressures from life and work, especially amongst white collar workers, the Euromonitor informs.

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