How to grasp the emerging sports nutrition market opportunities in China?

Posted by Admin on March 17, 2021 in Chinese market

In China, the sports nutrition market has amazing development potential.

Between 2011 and 2016, global sales of sports nutrition food increased by 70% year on year. In 2016, the sales of sports nutrition food exceeded $15 billion, US was $8 billion and Europe was $4.5 billion. It can be seen that the overall development of sports nutrition food in the world presents a good trend. China’s sports nutrition food industry is also developing rapidly. End of 2018, the overall scale of China’s sports nutrition market is 329 million dollars. In the five years from 2013 to 2018, the compound annual growth rate of industrial retail sales is as high as 40%, which is higher than that of global and American markets. In the five years from 2018 to 2023, this figure can still reach 24%, higher than 11% of the global sports nutrition industry. It is estimated that China’s market will reach $859 million in 2023.

Sports nutrition is considered to be the next outlet of big health industry, which has great commercial development potential and rising space in the future. Although the current sports nutrition market in China is still in the exploration stage of slow climbing, we can see that more and more FMCG giants, such as Mars and Nestle, are laying out the sports nutrition market in China, and the market is on the eve of a real explosion.

What is driving the development of sports nutrition market in China?

Female consumer groups are rising

With the increasing audience of sports nutrition, not only professional athletes, but also ordinary consumers who need fitness and weight management have begun to enter the mainstream market. Among them, women, as a specific sports consumer group, are rising rapidly, from the earliest slimming and diet to today’s BMI, nutrition label and professional courses. In the past two years, 63% of women want to improve their overall health, and their focus has shifted from weight control to strength (37%), muscle mass (32%) and cognitive health (41%). Research shows that 70% of Chinese women have fitness habits, and more than half of them keep exercising more than three times a week. Compared with men, the proportion of women’s consumption in Tmall sports market has increased year by year in recent three years, and their awareness of sports has gradually awakened.

Rapid development of China’s E-sports

In recent years, the development speed of domestic E-sports is amazing. In terms of total market volume, the domestic E-sports market will reach 13.8 billion yuan in 2019. Only four years ago, it was only one billion. In terms of the number of users, there are 350 million E-sports users nationwide, and 75 million core E-sports enthusiasts. They are generally highly educated and have high income. This group not only likes to fight fiercely in front of the screen, but also likes the peripheral products of E-sports. From the perspective of food development, the energy supply during the game and the physical recovery after the war are all potential markets. Fast and continuous energy supply is one of the main concerns of sports nutrition food with high energy supplement.

Extensive meal replacement and weight management bring new opportunities for development

From the two main functions of sports nutrition and meal replacement, the high protein products in European and American countries are mainly sports nutrition, muscle enhancement and shaping products, while those in Asian countries (China, Japan and India) are mainly meal replacement and weight management. China not only has a high demand for substitute food products, but also has the highest absolute amount in the world. In particular, the emergence of substitute light food has further expanded the category of sports nutrition.

How can foreign sports nutrition brands grasp this opportunity to enter the Chinese market?

Before starting to sell on the Chinese e-commerce platforms, your products must be known in the Chinese market otherwise no one will buy your products. If you don’t build a good reputation around the brand, then your product is still unknown to consumers. When conducting e-commerce in China, e-reputation should be the basis of your marketing strategy. In order to be visible in the market, the first step is to build a Chinese website on Baidu. Baidu is the most commonly used search engine in China, with 70% of the queries. At the same time, you can use Baidu SEM to improve the website ranking and increase the website exposure.

At present, there are fewer and fewer sports nutritious foods sold in the gym. Even if students follow the coach’s recommendation, they will not buy them from the coach. They may still choose to buy them from the e-commerce platform. This situation is not rare. Many gym operators say that with the emergence and rise of e-commerce, people’s consumption habits have changed, gradually shifting from offline consumption to online consumption, which makes sports nutrition brands switch to e-commerce channels. For example, in the Chinese market, SHARKFIT, a healthy fast food brand established in 2018, has been on the line for one year. Its core product instant chicken breast has become the first in Tmall’s subdivision category. After 18 months on the line, its monthly sales have exceeded 20 million yuan from zero. Chinese consumers are used to shopping online, and online sales account for 84% of the sales of sports nutrition products in China. Therefore, it is very important to open an online store with own brand in China. Tmall is the most famous e-commerce platform in China. Due to its high cost, we recommend that it be used only for big brands, which is China’s leading B2C e-commerce website. For small and medium-sized brands, Taobao is relatively more appropriate.

In addition, in order to maintain the steady revenue of the e-commerce platform, sports nutrition food, as a FMCG product, seizing the offline core target group for precision marketing is another key besides the product itself. Some enterprises mainly radiate more users through fitness internet influencer promotion and other advertising forms.

For example, for the products promoted by fitness bloggers on Weibo, fans can switch from Weibo browsing to online shopping. Fans’ trust and loyalty to the bloggers greatly improve the purchase rate. What’s more, Little Red Book, Zhihu, Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili are also important places for Internet influencer marketing, with real feeling share and considerable fans base of internet influencers to expose the brand and expand the brand influence, making your products more easily understood and accepted by China’s consumers.

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