Win in China Sports E-commerce During 2024 Olympics

Published on: March 6, 2024

Win in China Sports E-commerce During 2024 Olympics

The countdown to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris is on, and the buzz is building, especially in China where the fervour for sports and fitness is hitting an all-time high. This isn’t just about cheering for athletes — it’s a prime time for sports and fitness brands to make some serious moves. With the world’s largest e-commerce market at their fingertips, these brands are poised to tap into a highly engaged and passionate consumer base, eager to explore the latest in sports apparel, equipment, and wellness trends.

Now’s the prime time for brands to dive into China’s digital shopping platforms, where the Olympic fever is set to ignite consumer interest and spending like never before. By strategically showcasing their products and stories, brands can snag the spotlight, captivating an audience that’s not just hyped about the Olympics but is also eager to weave sports and fitness into their everyday lives.


Elevating Brand Engagement Through China's Favourite Sports

The Summer Olympics aren’t just a global sports event for China — they’re a beacon of national pride and a symbol of the nation’s growing stature on the global stage. This presents an unbeatable chance for sports and fitness brands to connect with a Chinese audience that’s more than ready to celebrate their Olympic heroes.

In the heart of China, sports like table tennis, badminton, gymnastics, swimming, and athletics aren’t just pastimes. They reflect the country’s cultural values, dreams, and identity. This deep-rooted connection opens up unique opportunities for brands to engage with consumers who are eager to draw inspiration from their Olympic favourites.

Understanding China’s unique sports landscape is key to tapping into its e-commerce market effectively. The popularity of specific sports provides a strategic roadmap for brands to customise their marketing initiatives.

Table Tennis & Badminton: Cornerstones of Cultural Pride

In China, table tennis and badminton are not just sports; they’re integral to the cultural fabric and a matter of national pride.

Win in China Sports E-commerce During 2024 Olympics - table tennis - badminton
Top Chinese table tennis and badminton athletes are highly sought-after as spokespersons in China.

Lin Dan, a name synonymous with badminton greatness, stands as a testament to this passion. Celebrated as the best badminton player ever, his accolades include two Olympic golds and five world championships, making him a colossal figure in sports, not just in China but across Asia. His fame, as noted by ESPN, places him among the world’s top 100 athletes. This fervour is not limited to the elites. It’s a mass movement. With over one-third of China’s sporting populace wielding badminton rackets and a significant fraction engaging in table tennis, the potential for brand engagement is immense.

For global brands, this presents an unparalleled opportunity to weave into the fabric of China’s sporting culture. Collaborations with athletes, sponsoring local events, or creating compelling content around these sports can open doors to deep, meaningful connections with a vast audience.

Running: China's Fastest Growing Fitness Trend

Although running may not capture the same spectatorship as other sports, it has emerged as the primary sport for China’s active population. A staggering 44% of Chinese athletes identify running as their preferred sport.

The year 2023 saw an explosion of over 100 marathons across the country, highlighting running’s growing prominence. ISPO findings reveal a younger, affluent demographic of runners in China compared to Europe, with a substantial portion falling within the 36-45 age group, closely followed by the 25-35 age bracket. This demographic is not only passionate but also willing to invest in their sport, from specialised running shoes to bespoke apparel and accessories. The emergence of studios dedicated to runners’ needs in major cities marks a trend of increasing sophistication and expenditure on running as a lifestyle.

How On Running & Lululemon Outpaced Adidas in China - On Running
On Running's Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) content focuses on customer photos and local athletic events.

This shift presents an unparalleled opportunity for sports and fitness brands. By understanding and tapping into the preferences of China’s running community, brands can significantly enhance their market presence, especially in the run-up to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Gymnastics: A Blend of Grace & Discipline

Gymnastics, with its mesmerising blend of elegance and discipline, holds a special place in the hearts of millions in China.

This sport offers an attractive niche for sports brands that aim to align with gymnastics’ sophistication and exactness. Tailoring products that combine performance with aesthetic appeal allows brands to underscore their support for athletes’ pursuit of perfection. It’s an invitation to be part of a narrative that celebrates grace, strength, and the relentless quest for excellence.

Swimming & Athletics: Universal Appeal for Diverse Engagement

The broad appeal of swimming and athletics offers an extensive stage for brands to showcase their offerings. The pent-up demand following strict coronavirus restrictions has spurred remarkable growth in these areas within China.

On Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), content related to sports like cycling and biking has witnessed a 400% surge in interest in 2023 compared to the previous year, amassing 1.3 billion views. Impressively, water sports like diving and surfing, and camping have garnered 8 billion and 6 billion views, respectively.

By engaging with the diverse appeal of these summer sports, brands can tap into a vast audience. This strategy leverages the fervour surrounding Olympic feats while addressing the consumer’s desire to emulate the achievements of their sports idols.

E-commerce Playbook for the Olympic Season

Storytelling That Hits Home

The essence of the Olympics — stories of grit, determination, and victory — resonates deeply with audiences worldwide.

For brands, tapping into these narratives offers more than a sales pitch; it’s a chance to inspire and become an integral part of consumers’ fitness and wellness journeys. Featuring athletes and Olympic hopefuls in your marketing can create powerful emotional connections, turning mere transactions into meaningful interactions. This approach is not just about promoting products but about inspiring your audience and supporting them on their path to fitness and well-being.

Unlocking the Power of Social Commerce in China

In the heart of China’s bustling digital ecosystem, platforms such as Douyin (globally known as TikTok), WeChat, and Xiaohongshu reign supreme. These aren’t just social media platforms. They’re vibrant marketplaces where the lines between content and commerce blur seamlessly. For global sports and fitness brands eyeing the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, understanding the power of social commerce within these platforms is not just beneficial — it’s essential.

Lululemon's community events on Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book)

For instance, consider how Lululemon taps into Xiaohongshu to host community events. These platforms are more than mere social networks; they are dynamic marketplaces ripe for the innovative brand strategies that resonate deeply with consumers.

The Influential Voice of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

The role of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in China’s sports industry cannot be overstated. These are the trendsetters and the voices that matter. They’re the ones who can bridge the vast expanse between brands and their fans with ease. Their influence extends beyond mere visibility. They forge meaningful connections, drive engagement, and have a hand in sculpting the very fabric of the sports narrative in China.

Imagine leveraging these influencers through dynamic campaigns, livestreaming events, and strategic partnerships. Picture an engaging livestream where athletes divulge their training regimes or tease the release of a new product line. These moments are golden, creating an electric atmosphere that not only draws consumers in but also cements a durable bond between them and your brand.

Capitalising on Limited-Edition Merchandise

The Olympic season is ripe for launching limited-edition merchandise that celebrates the games or pays homage to sports particularly beloved in China. From exclusive sneaker designs to collector’s edition apparel and accessories, offering items that are available for a limited time can spur demand and encourage quick action from consumers. This strategy not only capitalizes on the heightened excitement surrounding the Olympics but also adds an exclusive allure to your offerings, making them irresistible to the eager fanbase.

Seizing the Moment for Sports & Fitness Brands

With the 2024 Summer Olympics on the horizon, the stage is set for sports and fitness brands to make their mark in the bustling e-commerce landscape of China. This global event is more than a showcase of athletic excellence. It’s a chance to connect with millions of passionate consumers, eager for Olympic-themed merchandise and compelling brand stories.

Thriving in China’s e-commerce ecosystem often hinges on forming strategic local partnerships. Take the Singles’ Day event in 2023 as a case in point — nearly half of the top-performing brands in the sports and outdoor sector achieved their status through partnerships with Chinese companies, as highlighted by ISPO. For instance, FILA’s impressive performance in China is spearheaded by Anta, a local powerhouse, rather than its South Korean parent company. This strategic collaboration propelled FILA to the forefront, landing it just behind Nike in sales and showcasing the power of local expertise.

Top Categories to Watch in China's 618 Shopping Festival 2024 - sports

That’s where WPIC comes into play. Our deep understanding of the market’s nuances and our customised solutions set your brand up for victory. Armed with data-driven insights, comprehensive market analysis, and tailor-made strategies, we’re here to help you harness the Olympic buzz and outpace the competition in China’s dynamic digital marketplace.

Ready to make a splash at the 2024 Olympics? Partnering with WPIC positions you to tap into the vast potential of this e-commerce boom. With us in your corner, reaching for the gold isn’t just a dream — it’s a tangible goal.

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