Aug 11, 2021|

JD’s Sports Consumption Report: Diversified and Professional Demand Propels Market Expansion


by Vivian Yang

Chinese customers are spending more on sports in the past five years. In 2020, their per capita expenditure on sports grew by 30% year on year, with the largest spending group being people aged between 26-35 years old, a.k.a. the post-85 generation, according to a report on sports consumptions released by JD Big Data Research Institute on August 6, 2021.

The report studied the consumption big data of sports products and services on from 2017 to 2021. It also attributed the recent sports consumption rise to the Tokyo Olympics craze.

The report pointed out that though the pandemic outbreak in 2020 suppressed the sales of some sports products, such as running shoes, outdoor and swimming gears, on the other hand, it also sparked people’s enthusiasm in bodybuilding and health-preserving exercises, which propelled the demand for “contactless” sports, like fitness, fishing and yoga.

On the gender comparison, men account for a bigger share than women in sports consumption, but the gap has been slightly narrowing over the years, with the men-to-women penetration ratio on sports consumption having been reduced from 1.58 in 2017 to 1.51 in 2020. However, the report also found that in terms of per capita spending, men continue to lead with the ratio enlarging from 1.11 to 1.27 in the report period.

On the aspect of age groups, people aged 26 to 35 comprise the largest group, accounting for more than 40% of the overall consumers on sports, followed by the age groups of 36 to 45, and 16 to 25, which make up 26% and 22% respectively.

From the regional perspective, the top 3 regions with per capita sports consumption are Tibet, Zhejiang and Shanghai. The top 5 regions in terms of sports consumption penetration rate are Beijing, Tibet, Xinjiang, Tianjin and Qinghai.

“Chinese consumers’ are spending more on professional products for their exercises, from equestrian, skiing to martial arts,” said Dr. Yi Zhang, senior researcher of JD Big Data Research Institute. “They are looking for products of subdivided segments.”

According to the report, running, basketball and rope skipping are the most popular sports, and running, basketball and yoga are the largest consumption sports. “The mass base is the key to sports consumption. As we can see from the data, a higher penetration rate of a sport will lead to its bigger consumption market,” Zhang added.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government issued a national fitness plan for 2021-2025 to promote the development of national fitness, and meet the people’s fitness and health needs. The plan aims to make sports an RMB 5 trillion yuan industry in China by 2025. This suggests the sector is heading for an increase of 69.5 percent from its size in 2019.