Opportunities and Challenges in China’s Skiing Industry

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With the economic development of China, the population has seen its purchasing power increase. This gives them a larger share of the budget to spend on leisure. The Chinese love to travel, especially inside their country. The government has introduced new laws regarding paid holidays since 2008. This allows them to travel more often than before, with a larger budget.

More particularly, for Chinese millennials, their desire for active and sporting holidays is bigger than any other generation. With less financial limitation and more openness, they want to discover and try new activities.  Thus, according to GlobalData, they are participating in particular types of sporting holidays, such as skiing.

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The Ice and Snow industry in China is booming

A fast-growing market, pushed by Winter Olympics 2022

Skiing is one of the most popular sporting holidays. The Skiing Industry in China revealed in its February 2017 White Paper an annual growth rate of 13.73% for ski resorts in China. China’s ski market is considered as one of the fastest growing markets in the world according to the president of Carving Ski Group Wu Bin: “The global markets are putting their attention on the development of China’s ski industry and global resources will continue to flow to the Chinese ski market”. Also, this trend is helped by the Winter Olympics 2022, which will be held in Beijing. The government highly support the development of this market, targeting to fill the ski resorts with 300 million members so China can effectively represent Winter sports.

Skiing is a question of social status

This sport is a relatively new experience for a lot of people, and the Chinese’s growing middle-class consumers are searching for new experiences. Like horse riding and golf, skiing in China is representative of a higher social status. Chinese do practice winter sports both the pleasure of the activity and to attend an activity typical of high-society. Skiing became a collective and rewarding social activity just like shopping, for the proud of wearing well-known brand’s clothes with a logo that will for sure raise the admiration and envy of those around.

Some Challenges of the skiing market

This market remains still at an early stage and there are a lot of tasks to do to support its growth.

The industry wants to target more Chinese millennial

However, because of the high price of accessibility, this sport sees a decline among youths. Baby boomers are the most common age group. Hyett, a travel and tourism Analyst at GlobalData comments: “Younger generations are put off by factors such as the cost, the amount of time it takes to play a round and the negative perceptions of golf. Holiday providers can include activities outside of golf in the package and advertise local nightlife. Additionally, holiday providers could use social media to advertise their holidays which will better reach a younger and more diverse audience. Millennial uptake needs to exceed boomer exit for the skiing and golf industries to grow and survive in the long term. Therefore, adopting methods to get more young people going on these holidays will be essential.”

Brands have to carry out the sport’s Branding

Another challenge in this industry is to deal with the “conversion rate”, which is about whether ski experiencers will become skiers or not. To catch people’s interest and get them to come back to the snowfield is a serious challenge for this market. Stations do not yet make their turnover on regular practitioners, as their location is quite far from major cities and the overall cost of the activity very expensive even for urban citizens. Most new practitioners are convinced that a one-off lesson is enough for their life experience.

As the activity is more accessible to wealthy people, you may need to learn about their habits and remain connected with this consumer segment. 

How to Promote this activity in China?

industry skiing

What’s difficult in China, is to deal with a country with a skiing culture relatively weak. There is a need above all to let people meet and accept a new kind of leisure. A detailed understanding of fan behavior and consumer habits will help you to unlock more value for international rights holders in this market.

Create quality content

Typically, the way to promote this activity will be through short videos, amazing photos, and an active online community. Chinese are very connected online, and the exposure of your activity online is a key to attract these future clients.

Quality contents include high-quality photos, useful information in Chinese. For example, about the ski resort: where is it? how much does it cost? What itinerary to take? etc.


CroisiEurope contacted GMA for helping them to increase their visibility among Chinese consumers

CroisiEurope has pioneered river cruising on the most beautiful waterways in Europe, and are Europe’s largest and most experienced river cruise line. They are now targeting Chinese travelers.

Create discussions on Chinese social media

After you catch their attention, you need to build an active online community to keep consumers’ interest. There are a lot of platforms for netizens to interact and discuss in China like Zhihu, Douban, even Xiaohongshu because Chinese use to do a lot of research before their trip or before their purchase. By the way, travel is a very popular topic. Many apps and forums such as QuNaer or Xiecheng providing people with advice and reviews.

Leverage KOLs in China

On Weibo, the main blogging platform in China, you can also work with KOLs to promote your activity. Key Opinion Leaders are Chinese influencers, having a huge base of followers and who are very active on Chinese social media platforms. They lead a lot their fan’s taste by sharing with them with their attitude and their lifestyle.

China shows enormous rosy prospects in its sports sector and a lot of growth opportunities. The environment is changing at a rapid pace, companies and brands must be agile enough and adapt to the changing circumstances.

Companies and brands need to have an accurate measurement of the value created through sponsorship and investment. GMA is specialized in digital marketing in China. We can help you to find your business development’s solution and provide you with effective results to grow.

Feel free to send us an e-mail if you want to discuss your project 🙂 We will answer you ASAP!

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