China's Internet Sports Users Experienced Explosive Growth in 2016

Source:iResearch March 14,20178:48 AM
China’s sports market developed fast in 2016, and the users of Internet sport products especially mobile sport users increased significantly. Government’s related policies promoted the growth of sports market. The frequently appearing of marathon and Abdominal muscles on the internet inspired the public enthusiasm for sports. The great sport events like Olympic Games, European Cup and World Cup Qualifier lighted the public passion for competition watching. and the popularization of China’s mobile Internet offered audience convenience for competition watching. 

According to iResearch, the users of Internet sport products had exceeded 350 million until Nov 2016. During Aug 2016, the number of the users even reached 520 million thanks to the Olympic Games, setting a new record in the history. Currently, the users of Internet sports via PC level at around 280 million, covering 1/3 of all the internet users from PCs.

In comparison, the growth of mobile sports users was more significant. Until Nov 2016, monthly active user of mobile sports surged 56.3% compared with in Jan 2016 to 250 million with nearly 100 million new-added users. According to the growing trend, the active users of mobile sports are expected to catch up with internet sports users from PCs.
Given that the internet user base was rather stable, the fast growth of mobile sports users brought sports apps adorable traffic. For instance, the monthly active users of sports apps has reached 80 million with a YoY growth as hgh as 225%. It is forecasted that the monthly active users of sports apps will exceed 100 million in 2017, indicating that sports is penetrating into peoples’ daily life via mobile phones.
In 2016, Internet sports covering competition broadcasting, sport training, even sport travel and sport financing boomed up, and in the favorable consuming upgrading environment, those market segments has become new focuses for giants and start-ups in sports industry. The online sport-related businesses like competition broadcasting and sports apps are searching for sustainable development mode by sponsors and value-added services based on their traffic advantage. Meanwhile, sport training and sport travel have clear business modes and keep a satisfying growth because their traffic can be monetized into money fast.
Currently in Internet sports industry, the various channels offered both large and small companies space for development. Giants tried hard to expand their market share, while start-ups constantly flooded into this field. Specially, two market segments, namely internet sports media and exercise & fitness, enjoyed a faster development. Internet sports media, due to its platform nature, had great Matthew effect and as a result, the users are highly concentrated on top companies such as Tencent, Sina and Hupu. Meanwhile, start-ups embraced great chances in exercise&fitness market. 51Yund, Keep and other newly-born companies attract a large number of users by creating and promoting their products and became top companies in this field. However, due to the large number of sport types and the high barrier between each other, there is still large room for development in Internet sports industry. Start-ups still have great opportunities to explore the vertical market and are likely to even change the current market structure.

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