The demand for sport clothing has been stimulated by the policy support of the Chinese government and the boom in the sports market. After the gradual growth in 2015, sportswear manufacturers in China are gaining more confidence in their products. So what about the trends for the Chinese sportswear market in 2016?
Trend #1：The market is expected to return at a healthy clip
“In the next 2-3 years, the market in China is set to experience continuous recovery ” said Cui Kankan, an expert from the Chinese Sporting Goods Federation, “With respect to a brand, efforts should be made to increase its product exposure, as China has made fitness a national programme.”
The industry critic Ma Gang agrees with Cui’s points. Ma added that domestic brands, especially those ranked 4th or 5th in the Chinese market, e.g. Qiaodan Sports, will see much more visible competition from international brands.
Trend #2：Advanced package and design technology will attract more attention.
In the second and third-tier cities, most customers tend to choose what they can afford. However, when bored by a poor shopping experience, they would like to spend more on better products and services. So their next choice is a dilemma: an international brand like Nike or a domestic brand like Li-Ning?
“It’s very likely that they will choose a professional brand that demonstrates a great performance and design philosophy.” As Ma put it, “That’s the law of the jungle.”
Trend #3：Brand owners need to be patient about the football business.
China desires to become a football superpower. That’s why there is sweeping football reform in the country. Domestic sportswear manufacturers are beginning to invest heavily in the football business. For instance, executives of Anta Sports, who reduced their football footwear products while entering new global markets, have decided to re-release their series of football products.
The thing is, there is no corresponding consumer base to support the relaunch. It has been a long time since the Chinese deserted that market. Market participants need to be patient and work on venue facilities, coaching teams and event operation mechanism.
Trend #4：Mergers and acquisitions are expanding.
At the end of 2015, ANTA Sports reportedly completed the acquisition of Sprandi, a Russian manufacturer of outdoor sports products. It is said that this move reflects ANTA’s decision to expand its low-price sports footwear business in China and Russia.
The critic Ma believes that a multi-brand strategy is the trend for sportswear companies in 2016. As a result, brand owners will focus on the operation of their sub-brands. Given that it’s difficult to build up a new brand, management may think long and hard about mergers and acquisitions to gain more market share.
Proofread by John Devlin