Although sportswear weathered the pandemic as the most resilient category within apparel and footwear, slight current value decline was still registered in 2020 due to retail disruption. However, the category quickly returned to dynamic growth, with consumers’ appetite for sportswear leading to strong recovery in the second half of 2020, which was sustained during 2021, registering fast-paced double-digit current value growth.
A large number of foreign brands were caught up in the controversy around Xinjiang cotton in March 2021, and most of the leading players in sportswear were no exception. With the statement that they would not source cotton from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region over concerns of “forced labour”, leading foreign sportswear brands such as Nike, adidas and Puma were faced with a backlash from Chinese consumers in support of Xinjiang cotton.
The COVID-19 pandemic has awakened sportswear brands to the necessity of building up the community attributes of sports brands, which can help to enhance brand stickiness and to stay connected with consumers during times of special events when physical stores and offline campaign are on hold. For instance, New Balance responded to the fast-growing population of runners in China with the grand unveiling of its first global running concept store in Shanghai to provide lovers of running with a place to communicate and connect with each other.
The winter sports market is heating up along with the approach of the 2022 Winter Olympics, paving the way for winter sportswear. Winter sports were not previously as popular as common sports activities such as basketball and football, given the limitation on venues and equipment.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions have been driving Chinese consumers turn to the outdoors for leisure and recreation, fuelling demand for outdoor activities, amongst which camping was especially trendy in 2021, when young consumers were keen to reconnect with nature but without too much travel. Therefore, after the sales slump suffered during COVID-19, players in outdoor apparel and footwear ushered in new opportunities and kept gaining share by exploiting the camping trend.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Sportswear industry in China with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
If you're in the Sportswear industry in China, our research will help you to make informed, intelligent decisions; to recognise and profit from opportunity, or to offer resilience amidst market uncertainty.
This report originates from Passport, our Sportswear research and analysis database.
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