While luxury goods still occupy a big share of the China market, the fitness industry is becoming a burgeoning market that could potentially rival the status quo. According to SCMP, China’s new middle class – a rising 300 million-strong – have shifted their focus from luxury goods and wealth to flashing their health and fitness as the lifestyle of choice. “For many Chinese consumers, it is not enough to introduce fitness into their lifestyle for health’s sake. There is also a keen desire to show it off,” the article states. “Posting on social media about marathon training, and taking selfies in the gym. Joining the hottest new ‘fitness community’ or brand name yoga studio is a way that urban, middle class Chinese can hold up their lifestyle as a marker or success to others in their peer group.”
Helen Tang, who traded her career in hospitality for a part-time operations position at popular F45 fitness gym, told the publication, “So many studios have opened in the last two years, and now it’s become like a fashion to do sport. Some might not want to go to the gym, but they come to take selfies and wear nice sporty clothes.”
To cater to the rising popularity of health and fitness centers, expect to see more name brand gyms and fitness centers opening in the Chinese market. Top tier gyms have already established a precedence in Hong Kong. Australian fitness phenom, F45, short for Functional 45 is gearing up to open its sixth location in Hong Kong. Despite a number of big box gyms folding in recent years like gym chain California Fitness or mixed martial arts Epic MMA Club folding in recent years, SCMP has reported the number of gyms in Hong Kong has grown an astonishing 35.6 percent in the past eight years and experts predict the industry will continue to grow as the city embraces healthy living.
According to Well To Do’s Hong Kong Wellness Market Report, the city has been very responsive to international brands, a move heavily attributed to the high percentage of expats and locals who have been educated abroad. Boutique gyms that offer specialized niche workouts are penetrating the market at lightning speed, with consumers looking for a sense of community and camaraderie. “It all comes down to the style of gym or fitness center people have been seeking,” fitness entrepreneur and Marketing Executive for Flex Studio, Charles Temple.
Image courtesy of Iron_Buddies Instagram (lead) and HelenTang124 instagram.