Anta Sports revenue and profits rise strongly
Pedestrians pass an Anta store in Shanghai on March 18.
Xiamen-based Anta Sports Products Limited on March 21st announced full-year revenue of 49.3 billion yuan ($7.7 billion), up 38.9 percent year-on-year in 2021, with operating profit rising 20.1 percent to 11 billion yuan, propelled by strong growth in its Anta and Fila segments, despite the latter's growth rate slipping in the second half of the year.
If the momentum of posting growth for eight consecutive years continues, it would enable the brand to surpass Nike China in terms of sales in the same way it has exceeded Adidas China, the company said based on compiled industry data.
Data from Euromonitor International, a global consumer market research firm, said Anta Group's domestic sports shoe and apparel market share increased by 1 percentage point to 16.2 percent year-on-year in 2021, rising to second place from the third in 2020.Adidas China stood at 14.8 percent, as Anta narrowed the gap with Nike China.
Industry insiders said the rising cultural identity among Chinese has propelled many domestic consumers to turn to national brands. Keywords like "Guochao"－a Chinese phrase referring to homegrown style－have been gaining ground. This has resulted in expanding market share for many domestic sportswear brands, Anta said.
Euromonitor data showed that by relying on Anta and Fila, Anta Group accounts for two of the top five brands in China's sports shoes and clothing market. The Anta brand still leads domestic sports brands in terms of revenue and market share, while Fila maintains the highest growth rate of international brands in the Chinese market.
Li Ning Sports in 2021 posted 22.6 billion yuan in full year revenue, a rise of 56 percent compared with the year-earlier period. Net profits climbed from 11.7 percent to 17.8 percent year-on-year, thanks to better control of the COVID-19 pandemic and the popularity of major sports events.
The Anta Group's fiscal report of 2021 shows that its main Anta brand has seen revenue jump by 52.5 percent year-on-year to 24.01 billion yuan, contributing to 48.7 percent of the group's overall revenue. The ratio is up from 44.3 percent in the prior year. The company operated 9,403 Anta stores, a decline from its peak of 10,516 in 2019.
Zhang Qing, founder of Key-Solution Sports Consulting, a sports marketing and consulting company based in Beijing, said the Anta brand has improved its number of directly-operated stores and quality of the retailing terminals by upgrading many into flagship stores, boosting its per-square-meter efficiency of store space.
The two recent Olympic Games have also strengthened its market recognition, as the brand has sponsored 22 Chinese National Olympic teams through outfits for their competitions, said Zhang.
However, its high-end fashion sports brand Fila has shown slower growth compared with its rapid expansion in the past. Fila brand's revenue increased by 25.1 percent year-on-year to 21.8 billion yuan, contributing to 44.2 percent of the group's total revenue.
The ratio was 49.1 percent in 2020. In the second half of 2021, the growth rate of Fila sank to the single digit at 6.8 percent from 51 percent in the first half, largely due to the performance of Fila Fusion, a trendy sports brand.
Zhang said the slowdown of Fila brands is natural given its high-speed growth in consecutive months. He said there is still a market for medium-and-high-end sports fashion products, which has matched Fila's market position.
The continuation of Fila's strong momentum is unrealistic, as the brand faces mounting competition from rival sports brands and global fashion brands. Whether its sub-brands Fila Kids and Fila Fusion are able to find growth opportunities is key to Fila's future prospects, he said.
Zhang is optimistic about the group's rising brands due to their high-end quality and clear market position in further penetration of first-tier cities.
"Top shopping malls and retailers in the country have voted for these brands by offering them prominent store locations," he said of brands such as Descente, Kolon and Amer Sports.
On Anta Group's forecast in exceeding the revenues of Nike China and Adidas China by the end of this year, Zhang said it is a race that will be no surprise.
"The rising recognition among Chinese Gen Z consumers will give a spur to the performance of Anta Group this year," he said.
Digitalization is a priority for Anta Group as the company said it will further invest in the area, focusing on upgrading membership system, member services and the operation of different platforms to improve online and offline retail performance and achieve diversification in sales platforms. Last year, its revenue generated from e-commerce grew 50 percent year-on-year, accounting for about 29 percent of the total revenue.
The digital supply chain platform, digital logistics network of regional warehouses and cloud warehouses, and data interoperability across the full value chain, will also help the company increase the quantity and efficiency of direct distribution to stores and empower brands to grow and develop more effective cost management and operational efficiency, the company said.