Fitness Industry in China

Fitness Industry in China: What are the Trends?

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Throughout 2015, fitness has become a hot topic in China. The rise of square dance brings a healthy lifestyle for the elderly generation after the retirement. National fitness has become a wave. The Internet has changed people’s concept of fitness, greatly promoting the development of the fitness industry. With the increasing demand, China’s fitness industry will be valued at more than 200 billion in 2020.

Fitness Industry Trend of Elderly People

Nowadays, square dance (in Chinese 广场舞) has become one of the most popular Chinese fitness sports. China’s retirement system makes most of the urban residents have a lot of free time after retirement. Middle aged and old people’s exercise is increasing day by day, making square dance a city scenery. In China’s large and medium-sized cities, you will find that, almost every district contains a variety of small outdoor fitness equipment, such as fitness climber, horizontal bar, back massager and so on, which still can’t meet the basic fitness need of residents, especially the elderly residents, due to the low equipment maintenance rate. Whereas the square dance, with characteristics of low cost and no site limitation, is suitable for the elderly to kill time and socialize. Songs of square dance are also popular online. From the originator– Coolest Ethnic to present Little Apple, along with the entry-level dance movements, are all very suitable for the exercise of the elderly. Series related to outdoor square dance, such as video production and online marketing are booming.

The Internet Has Changed the Way People Workout

The Internet has a great effect on the promotion of fitness among young people. For instance, icons sharing the photos of their running path on Weibo (In Chinese 微博) will draw a lot of attention. Since 2015, social media have enhanced this tendency with the share of people’s result after their exercise on “Wechat” or “Weibo”, both helping netizens to show a healthy lifestyle and memorize fitness records. Compared to the aunt who are more likely to do square dances, most young Chinese tend to do self-training, according to their own leisure time. With working time limit, young people in big cities often prefer fitness with flexible time and less site limitation. As it may be time costing as well as expensive to go to the gym, many young Chinese tend to exercise with apps like “Coolfit” which is similar to Fitmob. “Keep” is also one of the most popular fitness apps in China, which provides people with free online courses from different fitness level. Millet bracelet and other electronic devices which can record the number of steps, heart rate and other physical data, greatly encourage people to exercise.

Similar to Fitmob, Coolfit model is one of the representative domestic fitness O2O models. Coolfit is currently providing courses’ information through WeChat Subscription. The user selects the courses where they are interested in and books it online, which is supposed to be cheaper than taking courses directly to the gym while enjoying similar services. Coolfit coaches are all formal coaches, sometimes coming from other studio coaches. They will upload their courses one months ahead for the users to make appointments. Currently, Coolfit’s main business is in Shanghai. Coolfit currently has more than 500 members with a 60% customer attendance rate while the average chain gym’s attendance rate is only 15%. In this platform, Coolfit’s coaches are working hard to improve the quality of teaching in order to expand the brand via word-of-mouth communication.

Fitness Industry in ChinaFitness Market Has A Great Potential

In 2015, China’s sports and fitness industry is expected to account for 0.7% of the GDP of China, which is still small compared with western countries. The construction of sports infrastructure is still heavy in term of costs. For instance, the Square dance communities now encounter problems with the facilities. Indeed, the noise, the pollution and the occupation public places such as parking lots and basketball courts are important issues to be dealt with.

Moreover, professional fitness facilities are unsuitable for commercial mass consumption. O2O model with the emergence of intelligent Internet model in China is a very good tool to stimulate  certain fitness needs from the Chinese population.

At present, the output value of China’s fitness and leisure industry is about 150-200 billion dollars, accounting for about 0.15%-0.20% of domestic GDP. According to the annual GDP growth rate at 7%, by 2020, the output value of Chinese fitness and leisure industry will exceed 190 billion Yuan. While actually a 0.7% of GDP is very little, consumer’s demand combined with the Chinese government effort, in 2020, the Chinese fitness market value is suggested to exceed 2000 billion Yuan.

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