The sports market in China is growing in all categories. Half of the Chinese population—approximately 700 million people—buys sports products. “China is on its way to becoming the largest market for sports articles in the world. The growth in demand is reflected in the outstanding results of ISPO Shanghai,” says Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München. The areas offering growth potential for the international sporting goods industry became evident during the four days of the trade fair. One of them is digitalization. China is the world’s largest e-commerce market. Seventy-five percent of Chinese consumers already purchase sports products online. Finding the right partner is decisive for business success in the Chinese trading market. Elena Jasper, Exhibition Director of ISPO Shanghai, on the new e-commerce matchmaking program: “We bring exhibitors and visitors together with China’s main e-commerce providers and department stores. This is the ideal network platform for making new business contacts and establishing new business models.” All in all, a total of 150 meetings took place between exhibitors, visitors and potential partners. The extent of interest in digital possibilities was demonstrated by the full rows of seats at the ISPO Shanghai Digitize Forum. Experts and representatives of major brands such as Peak, Toread, and Under Armor highlighted the opportunities offered by digital transformation, for example how it helps brands to position their messages.
Trends showcased at live events: ISPO and Tmall fashion show
The strategic cooperation between ISPO and Tmall, China’s largest B2C platform, was successfully continued at ISPO Shanghai in the form of a joint fashion show. Well-known brands such as Columbia, Fjällräven, and Jack Wolfskin presented their latest collections—both offline and online. While the trade visitors experienced the event at first hand, consumers outside the exhibition grounds watched the fashion show via a live broadcast at the ISPO’s Tmall flagship store. They also were able to buy the products online at the same time. The live stream clocked up more than 340,000 views and 3.4 million likes. ISPO is the first network in the sports industry with its own Tmall channel. It offers ISPO customers direct access to the Chinese e-commerce market. Consumers are provided with quick and easy access to the respective brands.
China is not only an important market for global sports brands but also for international soccer. The German FC Schalke 04 soccer team, who was present together with sports goods manufacturer UMBRO as guests at ISPO Shanghai, also used Tmall live streaming to reach Chinese soccer fans. Some 120,000 users watched the unveiling of the new soccer jersey by former player and crowd puller Gerald Asamoah.
Women and children as growth drivers
Fitness studios are booming, new sports facilities are being built and European sports are gaining popularity in Asia. A passion for sport is on the rise in the world’s most populous country—as the growing demand for functional clothing and sports equipment demonstrates. Brands are increasingly seeing women and children as significant target groups. Although women do less sport than men, they spend more money on sportswear. And the enthusiasm for sports is growing amongst aspiring young Chinese athletes, so more and more is being invested here, too. What are the developments in feminine product design? What expectations do sportswomen have of product design? How can companies reach the next generation? These questions were the focal points of the Women Sport Industry Forum and the China Kids Sport Industry Development Forum. The ISPO Shanghai Kids Triathlon was also held on the first day, in cooperation with the Shanghai Triathlon Club (STC).
ISPO Shanghai in figures
ISPO Shanghai was attended by 526 exhibitors and 655 brands, including international industry giants such as Gola, Lorna Jane, Patagonia, and Tecnica, as well as Chinese market leaders such as AceCamp, Do-Win, and Yvette, which all presented their new products in three halls. They were particularly satisfied with the high number of visitors and the quality of the more than 14,500 trade visitors (see 2017: more than 14,000). At the same time, Sports Tech Asia took place for the second time and brought interested visitors up to speed on future-oriented production processes and new developments in manufacturing.
The next ISPO Shanghai will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC) from July 5 to 7, 2019. Further information on ISPO Shanghai can be found online. Photo material is available for downloading in the media database.