The pandemic has curbed Chinese consumers’ plans to travel abroad, but accelerated the development of China’s camping economy. The psychological pressure on Chinese yearning for freedom has reached its limit and for a rapidly increasing number of them camping, as a short trip close to nature, fulfils this longing for freedom. China’s camping market is expected to grow 18.6% y-o-y to RMB 35.46 billion in 2022. In this article we will take you on a guided tour of the most popular Glamping areas in China, and discuss the purchasing power, popular outdoor brands and product categories. We will also provide you with the latest insights on China’s camping economy, from market size, key users, key businesses to market communication.
Image taken from Zhidemai website.
Glamping: one of the hottest trends for spring 2022
Glamping has gone from a mere sport to a Chinese middle class game that combines equipment, aesthetics, and wealth competition. Buying domestic or imported camping equipment? Is the campsite on the nameless river nearby the city or is it a campsite that offers 24/7 hot water? Which choice of outdoor clothing brand, ARC’TERYX, The North Face or Snow peak? These and similar questions have become hotly discussed topics on social media.
Screenshots taken from Zhihu platform
Glamping is different from traditional camping from a Chinese consumer’s perspective: camping is popular, but Glamping is even more popular. Glamping users account for 20% of the total camping population, but Glamping consumers have 3 to 4 times the consumption demand compared with the traditional camping consumer.
China’s fast-growing camping industry
Rapidly growing camping market size
As cross-provincial travel becomes inconvenient due to the pandemic, the urban middle class with considerable spending power is more interested in short-distance trips around cities. While traditional camping was more about wilderness exploration and beauty of nature, now the middle class is pushing Glamping more for their social and consumption needs where one can enjoy both nature and worldly luxuries. China’s camping related market is expected to reach RMB 15.9 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%, according to ReportLinker, a market research firm. With the development of supply chains driven by domestic demand, more companies are seeking to enter the camping industry.
The number of camping-related companies is also increasing. As of July 2021, there were nearly 37,000 camping-related businesses in China, of which more than 15,000 were established in 2021 according to iMedia. The new camping enterprises mainly focus on campsites, supporting travel services and outdoor supplies. Among them, more than 34,000 new tent industry-related enterprises were established after 2020. Sanfu Outdoor(三夫户外), Mu Gaodi(牧高笛) and other companies that sell camping equipment also showed a significant performance in 2021.
Image taken from Tianyancha application.
The “Her” economy dominates the camping consumption. Gen Z and first-tier city groups love camping. In terms of gender distribution, females are the main decision makers of camping consumption, accounting for 64%. Regarding the age distribution, the cohort born after 1990 is the largest group, accounting for 43%. Camping spending by first-tiers and new first-tiers users accounted for 74%. Among the first-tier cities, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou constitute the top four, together contributing around 30% of the number of campers.
Screenshot taken from RED platform
The size of the campsite industry is expected to continue to grow in the future, driven by the overall growth in camping activities. Since Glamping requires more than just a tent and a sleeping bag, the general consumer prefers comfortable and beautifully decorated camping areas. The demand for campsites has increased dramatically.
Compared to China’s vast land and numerous scenic areas, the current number of campsites in China is low, about 3,500 in 2021. Compare this with more than 20,000 campsites in the United States. There is still a lot of room for Chinese campsites companies to grow. In 2021 the campsite market grew rapidly with a market size of RMB 29.9 billion. It is estimated that the growth rate will reach 18.6% in 2022 and the market size will reach RMB 35.46 billion.
Campsites in East China, with mountains and seas and convenient transportation, have become the most popular choice for tourists. Southwest China with forests, lakes and snow-capped mountains, has also captured people’s hearts. Abundant sunshine and beach resorts in South China meet the dream of camping by the sea. East China, South China and southwest China account for 25%, 21% and 21%, respectively. The northwest, with its unique landscapes such as salt lakes, deserts and grasslands, was chosen by only 13% of the camping population, but gained a lot of popularity on social media.
A Hangzhou campsite Image taken from Zhihu website.
Image taken from the Mafengwo quality camping in 2022 report
How luxurious is Glamping on Chinese social media today?
The spread of social media and the short video marketing tools have brought Glamping to a wider audience. Campers in China are going to great lengths to decorate their campsites as they seek to connect with nature, even getting caught up in social media contests over who is best equipped.
Screenshots taken from RED platform
As of April 2022, RED has more than 1.02 million notes on the topic of “camping”. The average price of tent brands (Nodisk, Snow Peak, Tentipi), which are popular on social media, is over RMB 4,000. Among them, Nordisk, a Danish tent brand, is regarded in
Screenshots taken from Taobao
Red as the “Hermès” of the tent brands due to its steep price of RMB 21,000 and glamorous appearance.
Image taken from Tianyancha application.
2022 Buzzword: Moving house style camping
“Moving house style camping”, in other words means moving their whole house outdoors. Camping requires a considerable quantity of equipment and items, and although one item is not as expensive as a tent, the total cost could be really steep. When the campers want to enjoy comfort, and be fashionable, a price tag of RMB 30,000 is just the beginning. Camping equipment on Tmall has maintained a 200% growth rate since the outbreak of the pandemic, with sales volume and keyword search volume increasing across the board.
Image taken from RED platform
Popular camping equipment categories
According to statistics, a moving house style camping requires:
canopy, sleeping bag, water-proof mat, folding chair, windscreen, kettle, storage box, kerosene lamp, lighter, portable folding multipurpose trolley, barbecue grill, racks, lunch box, Bluetooth speaker, inflatable pillow, cooker, first aid kit, hammock, navigation and communication system, camera…
Image taken from Red platform
The average price of camping equipment
Average price on Taobao（China’s leading e-commerce platform）:
Ceiling: RMB 1200-3700
Sleeping bags: RMB 750-3,700
Camping blankets: RMB 1,200 to 5,100
Kerosene lamp: RMB 350-4500
Folding chair: RMB 1000-2500
Dinner plate: RMB 200-300 /piece
Coffee maker: RMB 300-900
Fire table: RMB 800-1700
How much does a great camping outfit cost?
After spending a lot of money on high-end equipment and the perfect camping photo, Chinese campers also pursue a fashionable look of themselves. Along with camping which has become popular, so has going to the Urban Outdoor. Function coat, hiking shoes, waist bag, bucket/fishing hat, function vest… Outdoor clothing, once the preserve of professional outdoorsmen, has become a new fashion trend, hand in hand with street trends.
Image taken from Taobao platform
Popular Outdoor brands in China
Traditional outdoor brand:
The North Face、Columbia、Patagonia、JACK Wolfskin、Salomon、Arc’teryx
Urban outdoor brand:
Snowpeak、Meanswhile、And Wander、An Ko Rau、White Mountaineering、Nanamica、Mountain Research、Kolon
How do outdoor brands become fashionable?
Launching fashion branch lines and co-branding
Examples are Arc ‘Teryx’s business apparel branch Veilance and Salomon’s Advanced. It is worth noticing that Arc ‘Teryx’s recent fashion ambition is particularly obvious: in order to expand to the female market and high-end fashion, Arc ‘Teryx launched a joint series with Jil Sander+, a subsidiary of the German high-end fashion brand Jil Sander, with great success after reaching cooperation with skateboard brand Palace. Nowadays Arc ‘Teryx has become not only a functional outdoor brand, but also a fashion brand in the eyes of Chinese consumers.
Kolon, a Korean outdoor brand, invited mountaineering school lecturers and senior camping experts to share camping knowledge. Last September Kolon held the outdoor “Kolon Beautiful Camping Festival” in Shenzhen and created a number of different experience zones including urban, mountain and country camping areas, and invited consumers to experience classic camping entertainment such as hand-brewed coffee and playing frisbee.
Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak launched a new camping lifestyle sharing session in September last year in order to further Chinese consumers’ understanding of the concept of the brand. At present the setting for camping has become a major trend of outdoor brands.
Social media marketing on RED
Compared with short video platforms, RED has a low entry threshold, and relatively concentrated user traffic. For example, the camping operation brand Desert Wilderness(大漠荒野) while posting the notes on the brand accounts, it also uses consumers as communicators, encourages them to share their pictures on the notes, and makes users the centre to strengthen the sense of user experience. There are more than 5,500 notes related to desert wilderness on RED. In less than three months, desert wilderness has become popular with the users.
Screenshots taken from RED platform
Camping is becoming a part of urban Chinese life, and concomitantly the camping experience is becoming more luxurious, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Camping is no longer an ascetic experience and the campers are willing to spend the time and money to enjoy the best camping trip.
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