Fitness industry in China generate 10.3% of annual growth

According to the China market research report released by IBISWorld on China Sports & Gym, Health, and fitness clubs, this industry is set to generate US$ 6.91 billion in 2018. It has been growing by 10.4% from 2013 to 2018, with very rosy prospects for the coming years.

China could become the biggest fitness market in the world within the next 20 years. If only 4 percent of Chinese people join gyms, the country will need to build 30,000 new clubs over the next two decades.

Said Theo Hendriks, from Sports & Leisure Group.

Chinese people’s increasing health awareness

Besides the rapid development of the country’s economic situation, the growing number of knowledge workers, and the middle-class, Chinese people’s health consciousness has also been in growth. Diverse reasons support this fact :

  • Higher disposable income : they earn more than before and there is a reduction of the family burden as a lot of Chinese choose to have only one child. Living standards have also greatly improved, which has led people to chase after new activities.
  • Rapid pace of life : the work environment can be very intense in China. For a lot of workers, we speak about 9-9-6 which means working from 9 AM to 9 PM, 6 days per week. As the requirement for physical activity at work fell, more modern and occupational diseases began to affect the health of professionals. Doing sport is not only a question of appearance but also a kind of need. (Advertiser could play on this point to meet with Chinese consumers’ need.)
  • A change of aesthetic : Beauty remains still an important thing in the Chinese society. However nowadays, the healthy look that emanates from the inside-out is becoming more and more attractive. “Healthy mind in a healthy body” is perfect to sum up the situation. Furthermore, Chinese people, especially Chinese girls are known to be thin. But nowadays, it not enough to just be skinny, the focus is on muscle girls with nice shape. Even if it is not the case for all people, this change is taking ground.

How is the market situation ?

There are four major players (Will’s Fitness, Haosa Group, Wellness Group, and CSI Bali Total fitness) in this industry and the combined market share is estimated at about 19% in 2018. The low industry concentration level is also attributed to the industry being in the growth phase of its life cycle. The market share concentration level varies in different regions in the nation.

Let’s take a closer look at Will’s fitness and Tetra Wellness, two Fitness clubs with great fame in China.

WILL’S fitness

Established in 1996 for the first time in Shanghai, Will’s Fitness has now more than 115  fitness clubs nationwide and more than 500,000 members. Its value is to bring a healthy lifestyle to China and infiltrate the concept of health into people’s work and life. Will’s is not only based on the simple concept of fitness, but also health.

  • In 2012, there were more than 33 stores nationwide. In November, their TMall Store was officially launched, opening a new model based on O2O for the industry.
  • In 2015, Will’s and the sports brand “Under Armour” started a strategic partnership and became the only sponsor brand in China. Efforts were made to build the high-end brand Monster, Kyoga, and Zuper.

The first-rate health concept requires the support of the best international fitness equipment. Nautilus, Lifefitness, and Star Tac throughout the brand’s various clubhouses. At the same time, it also attracts the world’s most popular Power Plate. Will’s works with a professional personal coaching team and provides for each member the most complete international group exercises courses.

Will’s is committed to becoming a leader among high-end fitness clubs. So far, Will’s has been established next to the neighborhood of many super-wealthy people’s place, where the community of people is pursuing high-quality modern life. Will’s truly satisfied people’s desire for a healthy life and realize the integration of sports.

Tetra Wellness

Shanghai Tetra Wellness Fitness Management Co., Ltd. was established in 2001 in shanghai. The company employs more than 3,000 people and has become a large-scale fitness chain in China.

It has got over 1,000,000 members over the last years and has more than 100 clubs established in Shanghai, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenyang, Dalian, Wuhan, Shenzhen.

However, even it has huge fame in China, there are not only on the positive side. It has encountered some moral and ethical problems before.

Main challenges in this industry

The essence of the gym is to provide professional sports services. At present, in order to reach a good performance, some sports clubs generate some kind of negative externalities, with frequent harassment of members, rather than trying to improve their service or management level, teaching level of private coaching.

Also, THE PRICE! The price for each fitness club is not clear. Actually,  doing business in China is a bit complicated when you don’t know well the operation. It’s a complex market, with often the necessity to bargain for a lot of things. For gym Clubs, consumers are more attentive because of the high price and they will compare several clubs to find the right one. The problem of transparency can be difficult to manage. However, it remains very important.

Besides them, there are a large number of local fitness clubs. Many clubs choose to set chain establishments in a specific city so as to maximize their influence.

The fragmented market in China still represents an opportunity for new players to enter.

Want to start a project in the health and fitness industry in China ?


Ensure your online reputation

Chinese consumers check a lot of online information, go on apps such as Dianping or Koubei to see other persons’ reviews. They also use the Baidu search engine to find the presentation of the clubs, forums, and communities speaking on this club.

WeChat for your communication

You can leverage a WeChat account in order to interact with your target consumers and promote your business. We can help you with that here.

We help businesses to develop in China, using the latest marketing and digital tools to promote efficiently your project. Feel free to contact our agency if you want to discuss further.

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1 comment

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