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Marketing to Outdoor Lovers - China - September 2019

Covered in this report

Mintel defines outdoor activities as the following 11 activities: hiking, climbing, biking, fishing, skiing/snowboarding, camping, diving, marathons, canoeing, rock climbing, and golfing in natural settings.

“Outdoor lovers” in this report refers to people who have participated in the above outdoor activities in the last 12 months. And based on their expertise and participation frequency, outdoor lovers are grouped into three segments, namely, “Professional” who have a certificate in an outdoor activity, “Passionate” who either “participate in outdoor activities at least twice a month” or “is a member of specialised outdoor clubs”, and the remainder which we call “Experiencing” consumers.


“The outdoor market in China is a new emerging market, although outdoor activities have been popular for years thanks to consumers’ increasing incomes and willingness to participate. Outdoor lovers, especially when seeking professional guidance, find it difficult to make choices. It is essential for outdoor clothing and equipment brands to think about not only how to differentiate their products from general sports brands or even fast-fashion brands, but also how to engage consumers with more outdoor knowledge and good practices. High fashion-consciousness and readiness to rent outdoor gear instead of purchase among Chinese outdoor lovers are challenges but at the same time new opportunities for outdoor brands.
– Alan Xie, Associate Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Challenges in outdoor retail market and opportunities in renting services
  • Difficulties in brand differentiation and insufficient marketing communication
  • The pursuit of outdoor activities as a leisure experience drives fashion consciousness

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Number of people who participated in outdoor activities is around 14% of the total population in 2018
                • Figure 1: Number of ski parks and skiers, China, 2008-18
              • Outdoor retail market lacks boosting power
                • Figure 2: Total retail sales of outdoor market, China, 2010-18
              • The consumer
                • Low barrier to entry activities like hiking, climbing and biking are most popular currently
                  • Figure 3: Outdoor activity participation, July 2019
                • Photo-taking activities like skiing and diving are favoured by females, while fishing is preferred by males
                  • Figure 4: Outdoor activity participation, by gender, July 2019
                • Three clusters of outdoor lovers: professional, passionate, and experiencing consumers
                  • Figure 5: Segmentation of outdoor lovers, July 2019
                  • Figure 6: Segment definition of outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                • Interest in travel is similarly high among the three groups
                  • Figure 7: Interest preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                • Total purchase intention of outdoor gear and wear is not high, even among the “Professional”
                  • Figure 8: Renting preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                  • Figure 9: Outdoor wear preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                  • Figure 10: Difficulty in choosing outdoor wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                • Awareness of professional outdoor brands is much lower than sports brand
                  • Figure 11: Awareness of outdoor brands, by segment, July 2019
                • Little differentiation between sports brands and fast-fashion is perceived
                  • Figure 12: Difference between sports brands and outdoor brands, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                  • Figure 13: Willingness to buy outdoor wear from fast-fashion brands, by outdoor lover segment, July 2019
                  • Figure 14: Preference for more fashionable outdoor wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                • Demand for outdoor wear as casual wear accelerates fashion consciousness
                  • Figure 15: Usage of outdoor wear as casual wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                • Challenge or hobby for 20s, chance to refresh for 30s, and family time for 40s
                  • Figure 16: Motivation to participate in outdoor activities, by age group, July 2019
                • High income group tends to search wide array of information channels from specialised resources to e-commerce
                  • Figure 17: Information channels, by household income, July 2019
                • Outdoor reality shows are more prevalent among young males and people with high household income
                  • Figure 18: Preference for outdoor reality shows, by gender and age, July 2019
                  • Figure 19: Preference for outdoor reality shows, by household income, July 2019
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Challenges in outdoor retail market and opportunities in renting services
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                          • Figure 20: Alibaba rental service
                        • Difficulties in brand differentiation and insufficient marketing communication
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                                • Figure 21: Toread TIEF COOL T-shirt
                                • Figure 22: The North Face x Supreme outerwear
                              • The pursuit of outdoor activities as a leisure experience drives fashion consciousness
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Figure 23: The outdoor activities theme travel of Qunar
                                    • Figure 24: AGM outdoor mobile phone
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • The population of outdoor activity lovers and facilities are increasing rapidly
                                    • Outdoor brands face battle with sports and fashion brands
                                      • Low purchase intention of consumers leads to the outdoor retail market stagnating
                                      • Market Background

                                        • 14% of the total population engaged in outdoor activities in 2018
                                          • Figure 25: Outdoor activity participation, July 2019
                                        • Increase in skiers double that of ski facilities in 2018
                                          • Figure 26: Number of ski parks and skiers, China, 2008-18
                                        • Outdoor retail market lacks boosting power
                                          • Figure 27: Total retail sales of outdoor market, China, 2010-18
                                          • Figure 28: Proportion of products of various categories of Chinese outdoor market, 2018
                                        • Outdoor market becomes more competitive with the entry of sports and fast-fashion brands
                                        • Market Drivers

                                          • Income growth motivates the rapid development of outdoor sports
                                            • Figure 29: Relationship between development of outdoor sports and per capita GDP level
                                          • Government investment and policy favours development of outdoor infrastructure and promotions
                                            • Huge pressure from society drives people to participate in outdoor sports
                                            • Competitive Strategies

                                              • Brands pay more attention to female consumers
                                                • Figure 30: Specialised biking brand for women, Liv
                                                • Figure 31: Nike Women’s Race
                                              • Outerwear for causal use
                                                • Figure 32: The North Face Urban Exploration
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • More females than males in the professional group and travel is the common interest for professionals and non-professionals
                                                • Awareness of professional outdoor brands is much lower than sports brands
                                                  • Outdoor lovers’ motivation towards outdoor activities differs by age
                                                    • Outdoor reality shows are more prevalent among young males and people with high household income
                                                    • Outdoor Activity Engagement

                                                      • Low barrier to entry activities like hiking, climbing and biking are most popular currently
                                                        • Figure 33: Outdoor activity participation, July 2019
                                                      • Photo-taking activities like skiing and diving are favoured by females, while fishing is preferred by males
                                                        • Figure 34: Outdoor activity participation, by gender, July 2019
                                                      • High household income consumers are more active in exploring a wide range of activities rather than focusing on particular ones
                                                        • Figure 35: Outdoor activity participation, by household income, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 36: Relationship between development of outdoor sports and per capita GDP level, July 2019
                                                    • Outdoor Lover Persona

                                                      • Three clusters of outdoor lovers: professional, passionate, and experiencing consumers
                                                        • Figure 37: Segmentation of outdoor lovers, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 38: Segment definition of outdoor lovers, July 2019
                                                      • More females in the professional group
                                                        • Figure 39: Outdoor lover segments, by gender, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 40: Household income, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                      • Interest in travel is similarly high among the three groups
                                                        • Figure 41: Interest preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                      • Total purchase intention of outdoor gear and wear is not high, even among the “professional” group
                                                        • Figure 42: Renting preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 43: Outdoor wear preference, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 44: Difficulty in choosing outdoor wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                    • Outdoor Brand Perception

                                                      • Awareness of professional outdoor brands is much lower than sports brands
                                                        • Figure 45: Timberland store in China
                                                        • Figure 46: Awareness of outdoor brands, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 47: Awareness of outdoor brands, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                      • Little differentiation between sports brands and fast-fashion is perceived
                                                        • Figure 48: Difference between sports brands and outdoor brands, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 49: Willingness to buy outdoor wear from fast-fashion brands, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 50: Preference for more fashionable outdoor wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                      • Demand for outdoor wear as casual wear accelerates fashion consciousness
                                                        • Figure 51: Usage of outdoor wear as casual wear, by outdoor lover segments, July 2019
                                                    • Motivations in Outdoor Activities

                                                      • Outdoor activities offer opportunity to get away and relax
                                                        • Figure 52: Motivation to participate in outdoor activities, July 2019
                                                      • Challenge or hobby for 20s, chance to refresh for 30s, and family time for 40s
                                                        • Figure 53: Motivation to participate in outdoor activities, by age group, July 2019
                                                      • Females tend to plan holidays around outdoor activities
                                                        • Figure 54: Holiday planning around outdoor activities, by gender and age, July 2019
                                                    • Information Channels of Outdoor Activities

                                                      • Social media offers multiple channels to acquire information
                                                        • Figure 55: Information channels of outdoor activities, July 2019
                                                      • High income group tends to search wide array of information channels from specialised resources to e-commerce
                                                        • Figure 56: Information channels, by household income, July 2019
                                                      • 20s tend to acquire information from WeChat, Weibo and online forums, while 40s only show preference for WeChat
                                                        • Figure 57: Information channels, by age, July 2019
                                                      • Outdoor reality shows are more prevalent among young males and people with high household income
                                                        • Figure 58: Preference for outdoor reality shows, by gender and age, July 2019
                                                        • Figure 59: Preference for outdoor reality shows, by household income, July 2019
                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                      • MinTs are more likely than non-MinTs to participate in outdoor activities, particularly outdoor activities with high requirements
                                                        • Figure 60: Outdoor activity participation, by consumer classification, July 2019
                                                      • MinTs are more professional than non-MinTs in outdoor activities
                                                        • Figure 61: Outdoor club membership and outdoor certificates, by consumer classification, July 2019
                                                      • Professional outdoor brands enjoy higher awareness among MinTs than non-MinTs
                                                        • Figure 62: Awareness of outdoor brands, by consumer classification, July 2019
                                                    • Appendix – Abbreviations

                                                      • Abbreviations

                                                      Marketing to Outdoor Lovers - China - September 2019

                                                      £3,486.28 (Excl.Tax)