In China, one of the biggest consumer trends of the moment is undoubtedly the sport & fitness center market. Investments in individual equipment and fitness center’s membership cards are breaking records, since the slogan in China seems to be “A healthy mind in a healthy body”. The wave straight ahead of the West has found its echo among Chinese townspeople, who now swear by the sporting practice associated with a balanced diet.
The awakening of China to sporting leisure
The sense of competition has always been fostered in China, where competition is fierce in all aspects of life. Sport as a hobby had so far had little effect if it did not aim at obtaining medals for national glory. From now on, recreational sports education is highly valued socially and considered as a skill acquisition in its own right.
The sports body becomes a model of healthy life. Sportswear apparel has the coast and is worn daily as an outward sign of easy income, a fashion largely supported by major brands like Nike and Adidas. Let’s not forget that sportswear is expensive compared to the average wage in major Chinese cities. Western brands are a luxury envied because out of reach for many scholarships.
Chinese invest in individual courses
To receive the best training, the Chinese are ready to invest accordingly. Education is placed very high on the scale of values of Chinese culture, teachers are therefore very respected. It’s time for sports education. To progress faster, Chinese whose financial means allow it will favor courses with a regular coach.
These privatized lessons have become a standard for the better-off city-dwellers and a standard for their children too. Individual sports classes are given to children from an early age, hoping to see their offspring become the future champion of a discipline, or simply get them ahead of their classmates in school’s sport class. The competition is never really lost sight of.
To meet this demand, fitness clubs hire an army of sports coaches with a high commercial sense. Subscription to a gym of this type is of course an exorbitant cost, but the purchase of his club membership card is part of the social prestige. The state-of-the-art sports equipment and the eager follow-up of a private coach give the Chinese city dweller the blazon that only has one goal to achieve in order to be crowned with glory: to become muscular.
Sport is expensive and contributes to social prestige
Why invest so much in sports? Admittedly, indoor sports are the solution to practice without the effects of urban pollution on health; but sport is above all a matter of social prestige. It allows to create a between-itself, a social circle between athletes with the same financial income. As a result, the muscular physical appearance becomes a criterion of belonging to the group; the comparison with his neighbor encourages the new athlete to surpass himself.
The muscular body becomes a criterion of physical beauty expected in both men and women in China. Towards a Chinese society that is becoming increasingly Western, traditional values are slowly fading away. The criteria of income and material goods, too demanding in the face of the reality of the cost of living in metropolises, end up leading to some shy revolts. In the search for their future spouses, Chinese city dwellers begin to have other expectations, such as healthy living and common activities.
The ultimate goal of the performance? Ability to post one’s abs on its Wechat profile, posting a weekly selfie of his progress after each session, in front of the mirror in the gym. This craze for indoor sports is a group effect straight from social networks, on which each new trend is launched in China.
Digital in sports: the trend of mobile fitness apps
To counter the exorbitant cost of fitness clubs, many free applications for Smartphone let the user train at home with special training programs using video clips. The Chinese are known for their autonomy in learning, this solution suits them more than Westerners who feel a greater need for follow-up.
Because a model known to have won many titles in a discipline is always more seller, most of these applications stage a national champion and also bear its name. For example, the application of Chinese boxing champion Zou Shi Ming: three times crowned world champion in its category and holder of two Olympic titles, its mobile application 邹 市 明 拳击 燃脂 (Zou Shi Ming Quan Ji Ran Zhi, literally: burning calories with boxing Zou Shi Ming) allows users to practice boxing at home with a few exercises.
Sports practice is the new leitmotiv of Chinese city dwellers, a trend that is based in half on the fashion of “balanced eating”. The sports market in China therefore presents the real potential for joint development with the food and beverage market.
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