China’s ‘Healthy Appetite’ For Well-being And Sportswear Means More Luxury Opportunities

China’s ‘Healthy Appetite’ For Well-being And Sportswear Means More Luxury Opportunities

Irrespective of the influence of China’s zero-COVID coverage, several sportswear brand names — specifically Nike, Lululemon, Anta, Li-Ning — nonetheless managed to realize progress through 2022, showing robust indicators of recovery in the region. 

Throughout Nike’s December earnings call, Chief Fiscal Officer Matt Close friend said Gen Z demand for Nike goods on Tmall amplified 45 per cent in the course of Double 11. Similarly, Lululemon’s gross sales are continuing to climb, and its three-year compound income growth rate in the Chinese mainland current market is now close to 70 per cent. Meanwhile, domestic gamers Anta recorded 20 to 25 p.c retail expansion (besides for Fila) in 2022, and Li-Ning also reported significant-one-digit growth for the duration of the third quarter of 2022.

As China eases its COVID curbs, there is only hope that the sector will attain new heights in 2023. UBS China sportswear analyst Samuel Wang held a simply call with a significant distributor for Li-Ning, Anta, Nike, and Adidas in China and pointed out that “pent-up demand from customers drove robust sales all through the Chinese New Calendar year.”


All through Nike’s December earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Matt Good friend mentioned Gen Z need for Nike solutions on Tmall greater 45 percent through Double 11. Graphic: Nike’s Weibo

Although the US is the greatest sportswear market place globally, its expansion charge stands only at 2.5 per cent. By contrast, China’s sportswear current market boasts a compound once-a-year progress amount of previously mentioned 9 p.c and a sector dimensions of $52 billion (372 billion RMB) in 2021. Useless to say, the region offers a gold mine of opportunity for athleisure brands as perfectly as luxurious types.  

Why China’s sportswear craze is below to stay

A lot of variables are consolidating sports activities apparel’s posture in locals’ day-to-day life. The pandemic, which forced the whole region to invest additional time indoors, spurred the will need for cozy garments, generating athleisure a day by day staple for likely out or keeping at dwelling. 


The pandemic, which pressured the whole state to commit much more time indoors, spurred the need to have for relaxed clothing, creating athleisure a daily staple for going out or staying at residence. Image: Lululemon’s Weibo

Developing health and fitness consciousness,governing administration initiatives, and main sporting events this kind of as the Olympics have also contributed to the want for an energetic lifestyle. In April 2022, 67 million Chinese people today were being using physical fitness apps to do the job out at house. 

“Driven by the quick-paced daily life, men and women want to get rid of the shackles of anxiety and want to have a comfortable and dynamic residing ambiance,” states Ashley Dudarenok, founder of Chinese advertising and marketing agency Chozan and Alarice. “Athleisure have on has become one of the fashion possibilities for youthful individuals since of its at ease don, both useful and casual, and can effortlessly cope with various scenes in perform and everyday living.” 

“Driven by the rapid-paced existence, people today drive to get rid of the shackles of anxiety and want to have a peaceful and dynamic living ambiance. Athleisure have on has develop into a single of the manner possibilities for younger individuals since of its comfy use, equally practical and casual, and can simply cope with numerous scenes in function and everyday living.” 

The improved excellent and look of sportswear products and the increasing quantity of peoplepartaking in athletic actions indicate extra and far more locals have activewear in their wardrobe. “Riding this pattern is the truth that athleisure brand names like Li-Ning and Anta are not only creating their merchandise for sportswear function-only but streetwear too,” suggests Allison Malmsten, Daxue Consulting’s marketing director. In light-weight of this, activewear is no more time restricted to a sports activities context but can in shape seamlessly into trendy outfits.

The rising women’s athleisure market

Chinese gals are significantly getting up sports activities hobbies or going to the gymnasium. Mild workout has grow to be an emerging fitness development amid females, who account for in excess of 56 percent of the active end users on neighborhood sporting activities and exercise applications. Notably, this demographic has a great urge for food for specific clothing like yoga trousers, sports bras, free exercise shirts, and a lot more. 


Light-weight training has turn out to be an emerging exercise development among women, who account for about 56 p.c of the active customers on regional sports and physical fitness applications. Lululemon’s Weibo

The booming sector signifies a worthwhile prospect for activewear, but brands need to have to be aware of women’s varied demand. “Women’s athleisure wants to be the two fashionable and experienced,” remarks Dudarenok. “Nearly 65 per cent of woman sports consumers prioritize the require for dressing. And functionality, style and design, and top quality are also the principal components regarded.”

People that have captured the development are flourishing. Consider 25-yr-aged luxury yoga trousers maker Lululemon, which has surpassed Adidas in marketplace capitalization to come to be the next major sportswear brand name in the earth. As numerous out of doors functions — like camping, frisbee, cycling, land surfing, and paddle boarding — gradually grow to be the “new social forex” of native young men and women, this will even further generate the use of sports activities makes. Specialized niche names specialised in those people sectors will most likely profit from the climbing desire.

Luxury’s activewear option

Luxurious properties are also vying for the prospering area. For instance, the 186-yr-aged jewelry model Tiffany not long ago partnered with Nike to launch a pair of sneakers in its legendary Tiffany blue. Above the past yrs, lots of names — Chanel, Dior, and Balmain to identify a few— have collaborated with renowned sportswear organizations to embrace the shifting order routines of Gen Z. 

When tie-ups with set up activewear brand names is a prospective gateway to younger targets, new methods of collaborations are sprouting. Malmsten suggests substantial-close maisons to seem for chances in extra area of interest marketplaces. “Some luxury models are tapping new sportswear markets by collaborating with makes that are sturdy in athletics tech, but lower [in] model consciousness, so as to transform out merchandise with significant-tech abilities and a luxury identify.” Some examples of this can be noticed in the ski marketplace, such as IWC x Faction Skis.

Quality players are also foraying independently into elite sports activities. Presented China’s skiing increase, brands like Max Mara, Prada, and Fendi have all ventured into alpine collections, producing trendy ski appears to be like and astonishing pop-ups in the vicinity of resorts. In addition to snowboarding, upper course lifestyle sports like golfing, tennis, snowboarding are turning into a new outlet for trend luxury items. “By investing in these stylish types, luxury makes can find and hook up with their targeted viewers promptly and effectively,” points out Dudarenok.


Given China’s snowboarding boom, brand names like Max Mara, Prada, and Fendi have all ventured into alpine collections, producing stylish ski seems to be and astonishing pop-ups around resorts. Picture: Max Mara’s Weibo

In the publish-pandemic period, sportswear is just a side of China’s soaring awareness and prioritization of healthier choices. Wellness as a entire is turning into a significant usage driver in 2023 and over and above. For brands to capitalize on these wellness-conscious consumers, psychological and physical perfectly-staying ought to come to be a crucial marketing and advertising emphasis.