Sports Marketing Strategy: A Consumer Behavior Case Analysis in China

Article excerpt

Marketing research that targets consumers' influences and financial implications is a worthwhile sports marketing effort. To implement effective marketing strategies in a specific country, it is pertinent to understand consumer behavior in that country. In this paper, 11 major findings related to the unique behavior, attitudes, and buying patterns of Chinese sports consumers are highlighted. From the results of questionnaires administered to 2,155 mainland Chinese consumers in 10 selected cities, different economic, social, and personal factors in the China's environment are determined. The marketing implications of the Chinese culture and lifestyle are also discussed.

INTRODUCTION

With a quarter of the world's population and a fast-growing economy, China is rapidly turning into one of the busiest market centers in the world. Sports marketing has the potential to emerge not only as an effective vehicle in imitating the development of the Chinese economy, it also affects the Chinese culture and lifestyle.

Since sports marketing in China has not been analyzed or researched, it is appropriate to study the consumer as well as general financial implications. A look at American success in sports marketing will be helpful. However, implementing such strategies in China creates special considerations because of the existence of cultural and economic differences between the two countries. This study attempts to identify the proper marketing strategies in China through an analysis of Chinese consumers' behavior, attitudes, and buying patterns.

METHODOLOGY

The methodology used in this study consisted of exploratory research of interviewing managers of retail outlets, secondary research of literature review, and primary research of a total of 4,000 questionnaires distributed in 10 selected cities (Beijing, Chendu, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Qindao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Xian, and Xiamen) in China. Questionnaires were administered to a judgmental quota sample and assigned to one of four age groups with equal males and females. The rate of response was 53.9%; 2,155 questionnaires were returned.

The analysis of the data include editing, coding, analyzing coded observations, and interpreting results for solutions to the research problems. Tabulations and measures of central tendency were used to describe the distribution of characteristics in the subject population. Crosstabulation and chi square statistics were also used to show relationships between consumer segments.

SURVEY FINDINGS

Eleven major factors affecting consumer purchasing emerged from the questionnaire data analysis: 1. purchasing reasons; 2. purchasing experience evaluation; 3. income level relative to the expense level; 4. type of sporting goods purchased; 5. product factors affecting purchasing; 6. people influencing consumer purchasing; 7. sources of information about where and how to purchase;

8. influence of advertisements; 9. brands consumers prefer; 10. where goods purchased; and 11. time spent in sports

Purchasing Reasons: The major reason why people purchased sports products was "for exercise."

Purchasing Experience Evaluation: Approximately half of the respondents indicated that their purchasing experience was "positive."

Income Level Relative to the Expenses Level: The Chinese consumers' income levels range from less than $173 U.S. per year to over $863 U.S. a year. The middle income level accounted for 72% of the respondents.

However, most respondents indicated they spent "less than $40 U.S. per year" on the purchase of sporting goods.

Type of Sporting Goods Purchased: "Shoes" were the No. 1 favorite type of sporting goods for Chinese consumers. Females tended to purchase apparel; males were more likely to purchase all type of sporting goods.

Product Factors Affecting Purchasing: "Quality," "style," and "price" were the three most important factors influencing purchasing decisions. …