Overview of Sport Shoes Market in China
The international branded sneaker industry is experiencing rapid growth in the Chinese market.
In 2019, the sports industry in China reached 2,950 billion yuan. The annual growth rate was 14.6% from 2015 to 2019. The value of the sports market will reach 5,000 billion yuan by 2025.
It is driven by the evolution of the standard of living and increased purchasing power of consumers. The influence of urban culture and Western lifestyle plays a major role, with international branded sneakers becoming symbols of status and trend. The Chinese market for international branded sneakers is experiencing steady growth, primarily in major cities where fashion and streetwear culture are strong.
Market Situation of the Sports Shoe Industry in China
Chinese consumers are paying increasing attention to health, fitness, and sports. Additionally, the government has implemented a series of policies and measures to promote physical activities. Therefore, state support promotes the vigorous development of the sports industry. The rise in the standard of living in China has resulted in an increase in consumer purchasing power, making them more willing to spend money on quality and globally renowned products. Consumers in first and second-tier cities make purchases more frequently, with the majority having medium to high incomes.
Furthermore, the growing influence of urban culture and Western lifestyle has sparked enthusiasm for international branded sneakers, considered symbols of status and trend. Chinese consumers, especially the younger generations, are increasingly aware of international brands and seek products that reflect their individuality and style. International branded sneakers offer a wide range of designs, colors, and exclusive collaborations, thus meeting the demand of customers eager for novelty and originality.
Future Development Trends in Sports Shoe Industry in China
Environmental awareness is impacting consumer purchases as they pay more attention to sustainability and environmental protection issues.
With the increasing demand for customization, sports shoe brands are offering more customization options to meet consumer needs.
Functionality and comfort are the most important considerations for consumers when purchasing sports shoes.
New digital technologies allow real-time analysis of users’ walking patterns and center of gravity to enhance product efficiency.
Potential competitors in the Chinese sports shoe market:
Nike: An American brand present in over 170 countries. A global leader in the sneaker market.
Adidas: A German brand present in over 160 countries.
Puma: A German brand present in over 120 countries.
New Balance: An American brand present in over 70 countries.
Anata: A Chinese brand.
Li Ning Lining: A Chinese brand.
Current Status of International Brand in China
In 2020, Nike held the largest market share with 25.6%, followed by Adidas with 17.4%.
The sales value of the Nike brand reached $5.416 billion in 2022.
International branded sneakers are perceived as high-quality products with innovative technologies and premium materials, catering to the Chinese consumers’ emphasis on product quality and durability. Chinese consumers, especially the younger generations, are drawn to international brands that reflect their individuality and style. Social media and digital platforms play a significant role, where influencers and celebrities wear these sneakers and share their experiences online.
For international companies aiming to enter the sports shoe industry in China, digital brand marketing is crucial. With the development of e-commerce, digital marketing will play an increasingly important role in the shoe industry to meet the online purchasing needs of consumers.
How to Attract and Retain Customers for Sports Shoe Brands?
It is essential to target potential customers to determine their interests and preferences, and then offer products that meet their expectations.
To gain good visibility, it is important to regularly update the content with creative and diverse forms.
The brand must ensure a well-functioning website, smooth navigation, fast execution, clarity, simplicity, and mobile accessibility since the majority of searches are conducted on mobile devices.
Interaction with consumers is vital for better development. Regular addition of new content and implementation of special offers are key criteria to attract consumers. Establishing good communication helps improve the company and brand image, retain customers, and ultimately increase sales.
The sports shoe market being highly competitive, foreign brands must offer products of better quality and more innovation than domestic Chinese brands. Furthermore, providing product and brand information helps attract consumers and reassure them about the product quality.
Creating a good shopping experience is important. This can be achieved by offering an omnichannel experience, tailoring products to the targeted consumers, and creating an emotional connection with customers.
Customer service, being the final step, should be efficient and well-managed as it will be the customer’s last memory before their potential next purchase.
Search Engine for Marketing Sports Shoes in China
The most used search engine in China is Baidu. Search engines are essential when using the internet.
They enable the promotion and increased popularity of businesses.
With 85.48% market share, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, equivalent to Google. It has 200 million daily users. In 2019, Baidu held the largest share of the mobile search market, with over 70% of mobile phone users in China. This is not surprising, as 62.88% of Chinese internet users use their phones for searching.
To establish a presence in the Chinese market and have a well-ranked website on Baidu, it is essential to make your website mobile-friendly. It is also necessary to create a significant amount of content that is creative and relevant to daily life.
Social Media Platforms Suitable for Marketing Sports Shoes in China
It is important to note that Chinese consumers do not make purchases on official brand websites. Therefore, it is essential for foreign brands to be present on Chinese platforms. Additionally, young Chinese consumers are addicted to short videos, which greatly influence their purchasing behavior. They spend, on average, over one hour per day on short video platforms. As a result, short videos have become the best way for brands to generate good traffic. The ease of purchase combined with the trust that Chinese consumers have in these platforms makes their usage indispensable.
- Huge user base.
- Precise user positioning.
- Quick feedback.
- Strong interaction.
- Low cost.
- High conversion.
- Highly competitive.
WeChat is another important social media platform for marketing sports shoes in China. It is a multifunctional app that combines messaging, social media, and e-commerce features. With over 1.2 billion monthly active users, WeChat has a wide user base and offers various tools for businesses to engage with customers.
WeChat Official Accounts allow brands to create their own official pages where they can share content, interact with followers, and promote their products. Brands can also leverage WeChat Moments, which is similar to a news feed, to reach a broader audience by sharing engaging and relevant content.
In addition, WeChat Mini Programs provide a convenient way for brands to create mini-apps within the WeChat ecosystem, allowing users to access specific functionalities and services without leaving the app. This can be used for activities such as product browsing, online purchases, and customer service.
WeChat Pay is another important feature that facilitates seamless transactions within the app, making it easy for users to make purchases directly from WeChat.
Overall, WeChat offers a comprehensive platform for brands to connect with Chinese consumers, build brand awareness, and drive sales. Its popularity and diverse functionalities make it an essential component of any marketing strategy targeting the Chinese market.
WeChat is the largest social media platform in the country, with over one billion users. It is essential for brand development in China. For Chinese consumers, official brand accounts on WeChat are a symbol of authority and trust. In other words, Chinese consumers are accustomed to considering official brand accounts as their official websites (Chinese consumers are not accustomed to using official brand websites to search for information and make purchases).
On the WeChat public platform, sport shoe brands must be able to provide all service functions such as new product launches, brand public relations, distribution of discount coupons to consumers, interactive events, customer service, and even purchasing. Once consumers have connected with the brand on WeChat, they can directly receive brand information, which is important for increasing user engagement.
Therefore, WeChat is the best platform for building a brand image.
Xiaohongshu : Little Red Book
Little Red Book, also known as Xiaohongshu, is the most suitable platform for marketing sport shoes in China due to its popularity and competitiveness. Its popularity stems from its unique social media content that combines social features such as short videos and photos with e-commerce functionality. As of January 2023, it had 250 million users. The majority of its users are young, with a significant proportion being sophisticated women who have a keen interest in new brands, new products, and have substantial purchasing power. 90% of its users reside in first and second-tier cities.
In terms of placement strategy and content selection, sport shoes brands have a great deal of autonomy. For example, they can collaborate with key opinion consumers/key opinion leaders (KOC/KOL) to create short videos showcasing trying on purchases, highlighting new arrivals, and more. Furthermore, brands should pay special attention to the use of keywords and utilize various forms of advertising to enhance their visibility on Xiaohongshu.
In China, Douyin has a significant reach. Users can share visual and audio content on this platform. Sport shoe brands can utilize this platform to create trendy content.
As long as the shared content is of high quality, brands can be present on Douyin without negatively impacting their brand image. For example, fashion KOLs can incorporate the recommendation of sport shoes into their vlogs while emphasizing the comfort and aesthetics of the brand.
Weibo is a popular entertainment platform in China, equivalent to Twitter and Facebook, characterized by influential trends and the presence of numerous Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and fans.
Compared to other social media platforms, Weibo brings together many celebrities and KOLs. For sport shoe brands, having a presence on Weibo enables them to accelerate and amplify the impact of their content. They can also leverage current trends to activate their core values in the long term.
Weibo is a popular entertainment platform in China, equivalent to Twitter and Facebook, characterized by influential trends and the presence of numerous KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and fans.
Compared to other social media platforms, Weibo brings together many celebrities and KOLs. For sport shoe brands, having a presence on Weibo allows them to accelerate and amplify the impact of their content. They can also utilize current trends to activate their core values in the long term.
How to Sell Sport Shoes Online in China?
Selling sport shoes online through Jingdong International and Tmall Global provides access to a vast consumer base in China and offers various marketing and promotional opportunities. By following some steps and staying updated with the platforms’ guidelines and policies, international brands can establish a successful online presence and effectively sell sport shoes in the Chinese market.
Jingdong International is a platform that focuses on cross-border commerce of imported goods and has earned a strong reputation among Chinese consumers for its efficient logistics and customer service. For sport shoe brands, the platform’s positioning offers certain advantages.
Jingdong International has attracted nearly 20,000 brands with nearly 10 million SKUs, covering product categories such as fashion, maternity, nutrition and health, beauty, and imported food products from over 70 countries and regions worldwide, including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France, and Germany.
Jingdong Self-operated Store: Jingdong directly sources products from manufacturers, and by aggregating purchases, brands can benefit from Jingdong’s logistics and after-sales service.
Official Flagship Store: Brands or exclusive license holders use the platform to open official stores. The platform charges an annual fee for its use, excluding merchant management and customer service (refunds, claims, etc.). Jingdong does not participate in specific operations.
Tmall Global is a retail platform for imported products by Alibaba. It is the most trusted platform for Chinese consumers who purchase foreign products. To date, over 29,000 foreign brands from 87 countries and regions around the world have entered Tmall Global, covering more than 5,800 categories. More than 80% of these brands are entering China for the first time.
There are two entry forms for imported sport shoe brands on Tmall International:
Tmall Self-operated: Brands act as suppliers to purchase items and sell them to Tmall, which is responsible for sales and services (product delivery, etc.).
Official Flagship Store: The brand opens its own store on Tmall, controlling the store’s construction, management, and operation.
International sport shoe brands need to focus on the target consumer category they want to address and create creative content. This will not only capture the attention of Chinese consumers but also help them develop a successful marketing strategy to enter the Chinese market.
The platform is equipped with the Alipay payment system.
If you want to learn more about the sport shoe market in China and explore effective marketing strategies, feel free to contact us now. STAiiRS’ international team of professionals will provide you with detailed answers!