Throughout East Asia, government initiatives to promote health and reduce obesity have put a spotlight on exercise. In China, the 2016-2020 National Fitness Plan includes targets to increase sports participation and improve fitness among the population, in addition to expanding sports infrastructure such as soccer fields. In response, a growing number of younger people in China are participating in sports and going to the gym, while older people are embracing physical activities like square dancing.
Sports Nutrition Trends and Opportunities in China
The recent buzz around sports and fitness in China has made this an exciting time for sports nutrition companies. To gain insights into the potential of this growing market, here’s a look at the top sports nutrition trends in China for 2020.
1. Pre-COVID: Sports Drink Consumption Rises with Outdoor Sports Participation
In China, 70% of people ages 20 to 49 consume sports drinks, while 65% consume energy drinks.3 The top motivations are to relieve fatigue (57%) and boost hydration (55%), with flavor and nutritional content tied as the most important purchase factors.4 Convenience plays a major role in choosing RTD beverages. Of Chinese consumers who use sports drinks, 68% indicate they do so while engaging in outdoor sports. The prevalence of busy, on-the-go lifestyles in China’s urban centers indicates the potential for sports and energy drinks to penetrate to more consumption occasions.
2. The Rise of Esports
Esports is now a mainstream past time in China. Of those ages 18 to 49, 61% have played esports games and would do so again, and 54% agree esports should be recognized as a sport.5 The rapid growth of China’s esports industry (which grew 51% from 2016 to 2018) has made sports nutrition for gamers a promising opportunity.6 Ingredients with eye and cognitive health benefits are key to addressing the nutritional needs of gamers.