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Leisure market in China

Leisure Market In China: a changing Lifestyle

The following is a research on the leisure market in China. Economic development and social evolution have led to leisure activities becoming the necessities. The “need to escape” is enjoyed in different ways across cultures and is closely related to daily lifestyles, working life, and cultural patterns. As the Chinese society has experienced great changes over the last few decades, leisure activities have also developed a lot. And this is forcing leisure service providers to look beyond their immediate consumer bases, which requires quite detailed knowledge about this market.

Quick insight into the leisure market in China

How do Chinese people spend their leisure time?

Daxue Consulting research pointed out that:

  • 22.2% of people spent 1-2 hours a day on leisure activities
  • 16.73% spent 3-4 hours on leisure activities
  • 12.55% spent 4-5 hours, and the rest spent more than 5 hours

According to this research, more than 1/3 of people spend their leisure time in reading and only 1/6-watch TV programs to spare their leisure time. With the development of technology, surfing online becomes quite easy and popular where there are also 1/3 people chatting or doing other activities on the Internet through their mobile or laptop.

  • Shopping is also quite popular in China. Women in particular take pleasure in this pastime, and consider a day of trying on multiple outfits and haggling over prices without purchasing anything a productive day.
  • Karaoke is a common social activity in China. Alcohol is often involved, and skill in singing is not a prerequisite.
  • Ping-pong and badminton are two of the top sports in China. Numerous parks have free table tennis set-ups. While ping-pong is played casually, badminton is taken more seriously. Parks also host free badminton courts, but experienced players tend to avoid these due to the wind. Chinese companies sometimes rent out badminton courts for their employees to play after work.
  • Many retirees enjoy getting together in their free time for a friendly game of Mazhang. This is a favorite cultural activity for many Chinese people. Some take it very seriously and gamble a lot of money on the outcome.

Chinese Leisure time

A recent trend for outdoor activities

With their rising income, Chinese people that lean towards a balanced lifestyle, are more and more attracted to entertainment, sports and leisure activities such as cycling, swimming, camping, rock climbing etc.

With the high popularity of sports, the equipment and devices gradually become a growing business opportunity. Indeed, it is going through a linear rising tendency of the “sports and leisure” market of a potential of over 10 billion RMB in China. Big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong have become the hub for outdoor sports and leisure markets in China. This reason, combined with the proliferation of outdoor related websites on this subject, has had a direct impact on the outdoor market in China.

The reason

Chinese people have, for a long time, been considered a society of consumption, this is now changing into a more healthy and balanced society. Indeed, consumption hub is shifting progressively from brand chasing and materialism in the past to taste, personal style and leisure experience. One of the main reasons is that urban middle class people are working longer hours and they are in need of something new and different to release stress. The number of outbound and domestic tourism in China increases year after year. In fact, the number of mainland residents travelling domestically increased. According to the China Travel Guide, China had 61.90 million outbound visitors in the first half of 2015, an increase of 12.1% from 2014 in the same period. A recent study made, shows that the Chinese middle class has usual travel habits. On this survey, 74% of respondents agreed that they spend more leisure time with family/friends.

Outdoor’s brands are jumping on the market potential

Chinese Outdoor Activities

Indeed, this new trend for outdoor sports and leisure activities push the brands to be really active on the market. Indeed, they provide wider product ranges and selection, they organize activities for their customers, in order to enhance the loyalty of each Chinese customer and they also connect the consumers through social media platforms. Taking advantage of this opportunity, international groups are now using strong positioning techniques such as Nike and Adidas with their strong Marketing Strategy, playing with the design of strong colors. The products are marketed as casual clothes. The most saleable products are apparel, shoes, backpacks, outdoor equipment and accessories. Taking the example of Nike, the brand plays on segmentation, recently opening a special store in Shanghai made of 100% of recyclable material.

The adventure and outdoors recreation sector is one the most rapidly growing markets in China. The changing life-styles of Chinese people is also creating an increased demand for new activities such as golfing, etc …


We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and have gained more of an insight about the leisure market in China. If you would like to learn more about this topic or to get more information on another market in China, we, the Daxue Consulting team, are happy to answer any inquiries.  Contact us!