How to Market a Fitness Brand in China?

It’s an interesting phenomenon that in the summer of 2022, everyone in China is doing aerobics, watching Liu Genhong’s live fitness classes, and looking for the perfect fitness brand outfit in China. In a word, “fitness” seems to have ushered in its own golden age in China, and the location of fitness has also broken the space limit from the gym to the home.

The Development of the Fitness Industry in China

In 2021, the Chinese national government released the “National Fitness Plan”, which proposes to comprehensively promote the development of national fitness and create a social atmosphere of national fitness, which is a challenge and a major opportunity for the Chinese fitness industry. According to the data, China’s fitness industry has shown five consecutive years of growth, with 75.13 million fitness members, 41K commercial fitness clubs, and 51K fitness studios. On the Chinese search engine Baidu, the search index of the word “fitness” has changed from 1,200 points in 2021 to 1,611 points in 2022, and the fitness boom in China is developing at a high speed.

China Starts a National Fitness Boom

The industry is thriving, and many luxury brands have seen the opportunity and turned their vision to the sports and fitness market in recent years, using the launch of fitness apparel and equipment as a breakthrough to further enhance brand awareness.

Winter Olympics – Opportunities for Sports Fashion Brands

In 2022, the success of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games set off the “ice and snow sports” craze, turning niche sports into popular ones.

Data shows that, under the influence of the Winter Olympics, in January 2022, the number of notes posted on Xiaohongshu with the keyword “skiing” increased by 232% year-on-year compared to January 2021, and the number of views reached 330 million. In the Little Red Book shopping city also online skis, ski clothing, gloves, helmets, and other equipment, building a snow and ice economy industry chain, many luxury brands are also actively cross-border for skiers to launch fashion items.

Gucci and The North Face cross-border joint launch of down jacket online T-mall luxury. Louis Vuitton is also launching its first ski-themed collection “LV SKI” in 2021, creating limited models of ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, and skis. Dior is taking the first stab at skiing in its winter 2021 menswear collection, teaming up with sports brands Descente, AK Ski, and POC to launch a ski capsule collection that includes ready-to-wear, skis, and other equipment. Chloé, a leading French luxury brand, and FUSALP, a professional ski brand, have also launched a joint collection.

After 2020, the “skiing” boom attracted many high-income groups to spend including Chinese HNWI, willing to pay for their hobby. With the rapid rise of the domestic ski market, the skiing population is expanding, and in the future, will attract more overseas high-end professional brands to join.

The Rise of Home Gyms – For Athleisure Fashion Brands

With the catalyst of the new crown epidemic, Chinese people are isolated at home, and to maintain a healthy body, home gym has become the choice of more people. In the home gym model called 家庭健身房, people mainly use fitness APPs such as Keep and Daily Yoga with large equipment such as treadmills and rowing machines, or small and medium-sized equipment such as yoga mats and dumbbells to exercise. Young people also use the game fitness ring to play games to strengthen the sense of immersion and fun when working out.

The main fitness group in China is 26–35-year-olds, about 20% of whom prefer to work out at home, which is driving the demand for fitness equipment.

In early 2022, Dior collaborated with Technogym to launch limited-edition home fitness equipment, including smart treadmills, dumbbells and resistance ropes, and fitness resistance balls. All the products were mainly in white, with the Christian Dior logo and the iconic lucky star, adding a luxurious touch to the fitness equipment.

Domestic also emerged at this time with a lot of excellent brands – YESOUL wild beast: founded in 2015, is one of the first batch of Chinese court intelligent fitness brand. Its star fitness products are dynamic bicycle, treadmill, and other series; the biggest highlight of its products is that it can capture the user’s heart rate, power, calories, and many other key sports data, and achieve real-time cell phone feedback to the user; at the same time, in terms of software services, with the AI algorithm output thousands of courses and match personalized sports goals. the development and application of AI technology has given home fitness The development and application of AI technology has given home fitness the possibility of high-speed development.

How to Target the Fitness Community in China?

Focus on Social Media to Build your Community

WeChat, the most popular app in China with over 920 million daily active users, has become a powerful marketing tool for many international brands in China with its “WeChat Public, WeChat Video, WeChat Pay and other features”. Setting up a public website is the first step to having a brand account; managing a public website is like running a personal website, you need to post the latest brand news, brand history and culture, etc. You can also access Tmall directly through WeChat, which not only provides brand awareness in China, but also directly and effectively market your products.

Xiaohongshu is the key social media for lifestyle and fitness. More than 80% of the users are females looking for the latest trends, fashion tips, and lifestyle inspiration. The majority of fitness influencers and fitness brands gather on the platform to share information. You can set up your official account, post regular content, and use the right SEO and hashtags strategy to target and engage with the fitness audience. For instance, the German fitness influencer Pamela Reif picked Xiaohongshu to replace her Instagram in China and engage with her community.

Use Baidu SEO to Improve Online Reputation

The establishment of Baidu Chinese website, which many international brands are lacking, is a good way to get Chinese people to face the brand information directly, so that they can tap more potential users. In addition, “Baidu ranking” is also crucial. The brand needs to regularly publish excellent online articles and information, implement search engine optimization, and monitor the first results to improve its exposure and reputation. If you want to tap the potential internet traffic, you need to reach the first page on Baidu.

Improving the brand’s reputation online also requires the brand to pay attention to Chinese political news to avoid the brand getting into credibility crises and scandals, and the PR team needs to handle negative online comments reasonably so that more Chinese people can tap into the brand’s merits.

Opening a Tmall Online Store in China

There are many e-commerce platforms in China and selling online is also the optimal way for international brands to sell to China. Choosing an appropriate e-commerce platform is also very crucial. In China, opening a Tmall store is a very good choice.

Tmall has more than 1 billion user traffic in China. With the current lockdowns, offline retail stores recorded less traffic compared to e-commerce flagship stores that still manage to catch a wide audience and larger sales. The Tmall platform has a high exposure, and the key is to invest in paid ads to generate higher traffic. Secondly, Tmall has a lot of activities, such as 618, Double 11 or Double 12 to only name a few. The revenue behind each event is also considerable; moreover, the T-mall platform has a very strict screening mechanism and has very strict standards in terms of quality and popularity, so Chinese people who value quality are fond of using this e-commerce platform.

If you want to join the Tmall platform, you will need to work with a TP (Tmall Partner). We have the authorization from Tmall to setup, manage and promote flagship stores inside the platform.

In brief, setting up a Tmall online store, combined with WeChat and Xiaohongshu promotion will be the main method of sales.

Contact us for fitness brands marketing in China

GMA Fashion Agency is your digital marketing agency in China. Our agency offers a full range of services from e-commerce to branding, including all digital marketing operations. We have more than 10 years of experience on the Chinese market with case studies. If you have a project for China, you can contact us

GMA, escorting a large number of international brands in China, applies professional insights and expertise to serve international brands. We know the Chinese market, we understand the culture and language, and we will help you embrace it!

If you would like more information about our agency and services, please feel free to contact us directly.

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