“The Beijing Winter Olympics effect” – Opportunity for international winter sports brands in China
February 15, 2022

The Olympic Games can transform societal behaviors. In 2016, the Chinese woman Feng Shanshan became China’s first-ever Olympic medal winner in golf. She became a big idol in her home country, inspiring many to take on the hobby and accelerating golf’s development in the Chinese market.

Before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics even started, there were reports that the freestyle skiing phenomenon Eileen Gu, competing for the China freestyle ski team, single-handedly had brought attention to an obscure winter sport in China, and inspired lots of Chinese teens to pursue the activity. Gu’s first Olympic gold medal last week prompted ecstatic celebrations on Chinese social media. The hashtag #EileenGuwinsgoldmedal has been viewed 2.5 billion times on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

The anticipation for an increase in winter sports interest following the Winter Olympics has been high. In 2014, prior to Beijing’s nomination for the Games, China’s President Xi Jinping already targeted to get 300 million Chinese involved in ice and snow sports, with the aim of building a USD 150 billion industry. The goal for having 300 million people involved has already officially been achieved, subject to how the word “involved” is defined. But there is no doubt that China has indeed quickly turned into a winter sports nation. In only 20 years the amount of ski resorts has been multiplied by six to 804. By 2030, that number is expected to reach 1000. (Capitalmind)

A company that bet on the expected increase in consumer demand for winter sports products is the Chinese sports equipment giant Anta, also an official sportswear partner of the Beijing Games. Three years ago, the group paid USD 5.3 billion for Finland’s Amer Sports, whose portfolio includes European ski brands Atomic and Salomon, and Canadian outerwear brand Arc’teryx.

Already one week into the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, there are reports of a buying rush for winter sports goods in China. The Chinese e-commerce giant JD reported that sales of ski products on its platform for the period from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 – the day of the opening ceremony – tripled vs. the same period last year, while ski goggle sales alone were multiplied by 15. Meanwhile, Alibaba recently announced that the sales of ski equipment and skating products on its marketplace Tmall rose 180% and 300% respectively. Finally, search volumes of the terms “curling” and “ice hockey” recorded year-on-year growth of 310% and 130%, respectively, with more ice and snow sports going viral among young generations, according to Dianping, the Chinese version of Yelp.

China is the world’s second largest consumer market, and if the first-timers of winter sports following the Beijing Olympic Games continue to pursue their new hobby, China’s aim of becoming a USD 150 billion winter sports industry is just around the corner. Partly helped by the freestyle skiing phenomenon Eileen Gu – who earlier today stroke again, winning her first silver medal. Just a few hours later, the hashtag #ElieenGuwinssilvermedal on Weibo had already recorded 820 million views.

 

About Aventura Group

Aventura Group is a digitally driven investment and development company focused on China’s rapidly evolving consumer and e-commerce markets. Founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneurs with 50 years of combined experience from growing consumer businesses in China, Aventura Group has supported 100 brands to enter and grow in the market since then. Through our subsidiaries Aventura, TicToc Ventures, Aurora Beauty and Headway B2B, we drive growth for brands across multiple high-growth categories. Together these growth platforms create a vibrant ecosystem for both brands and talents to thrive. The group employs over 100 staff with operations based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Stockholm. Aventura Group is listed on Nasdaq First North in Sweden under the ticker AVENT B. For more information about Aventura Group, please visit www.aventura.group.

 

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