How KOLONSPORT Develops “Glamping”?

January 12,2022

In 2021, 14,000 new companies in the camping business popped up in China, upped by 171% year-on-year.

2022 marks the 10th anniversary of KOLONSPORT’s ANTARCTICA down jacket. On January 5th, KOLONSPORT launched an exhibition titled “Born for The Pole” in Beijing to celebrate its anniversary.

Founded in 1973, KOLONSPORT, who started out in mountaineering, launched the first tent in 1978, the tunnel tent in 1981 and the world's highest wind-resistant tent in 2004. During this period, the brand sponsored the 1980 South Korean Expedition Team and the Antarctic Expedition Team.

Luxe.CO invited the CEO of KOLONSPORT (China) Co., Ltd, Ms. Shanshan Gu, to an interview to understand how KOLONSPORT taps the market potential of “glamping” and develops its Chinese market by cooperating with its Chinese counterpart, Anta Sports.

How to Leverage the Camping Craze?

According to the Tourism Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, conservatively speaking, if there are 150 million regular campers in China who spend 1,000 yuan yearly on the hobby, the market size can reach 150 billion yuan every year. As the camping craze is still in its infancy, it will enjoy a huge market potential.

KOLONSPORT provides us with three insights on how to realize customer retention—glamping, community building and localization strategies.

In KOLONSPORT’s T-mall flagship store, there is a category called “Glamping.” Glamping is a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping,” which describes a slightly luxurious yet enchanting style of camping in contrast to the traditional “ascetic” kind. Glamping’s distinct style also manifests in the fact that KOLONSPORT sets the price range of tents for glamping between 7,000 to 8,000 yuan, way beyond the normal range between 500 to 1,000.

Meanwhile, KOLONSPORT has created a community dubbed KOLON ROAD LAB (thereafter referred to as KRL), targeting high-end glamping community.

In December 2020, KRL held a winter event at Qiandao Lake in Hangzhou Province.

In 2021, KRL held a series of sports events in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and so on, including plogging (an environmental friendly sports that combines jogging with picking up litter), running with pets, stand-up paddling, frisbee, land surfing, etc.

In September 2021, KOLONSPORT held a camping festival at the Shenzhen Mixc and invited participants to experience camping downtown. The brand ambassador Shishi Liu also attended the event.

Camping has been transformed from being an outdoor sport into a lifestyle.

The camping culture takes deep roots in the hometown of KOLONSPORT, South Korea. Both belonging to the Eastern Asian cultural sphere and being heavily influenced by Confucianism, South Korea and China pay great heed to family tradition and cohesion.

Camping went viral after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Gu said that, since many consumers didn’t have much camping experience and were not likely to purchase expensive amenities, this year, KOLONSPORT would develop specialized camping products suitable for Chinese amateur campers. Therefore, in the future, KOLONSPORT can satisfy the needs for different amenities of outdoor lovers with various levels of experience regardless of whether they are novices or experts.

How to Leverage the 100-billion Outdoor Market

What KOLONSPORT wants to achieve in the Chinese market is to “become a desirable brand of outdoor lifestyle.”

KOLONSPORT also conveys to customers the idea that “as long as you step out of the door, stand under the sky, you are in close contact with nature.” When facing other hard-core outdoor sports brands, what advantages does KOLONSPORT have?

  • High proportion of female consumers

“It has come to our attention that more and more women are taking part in outdoor activities and compared to other outdoor labels, KOLONSPORT enjoys a higher proportion of female consumers,” Ms. Gu claims, “we’d like to increase the proportion by 2025.”

Women are more receptive to innovations, have higher purchasing power and stricter standards for design compared to their counterparts, which drives KOLONSPORT to develop stylish products.

  • Expertise

“Outdoor Lite” doesn’t mean low level of expertise. KOLONSPORT focuses on the innovation of fabrics and offers garments made from them at its T-mall flagship store under the category of “Tech.” They include waterproof, windproof and breathable GORE-TEX, warm and fast-dry POLARTEC, elastic and anti-linting SHOELLER and water repellent, cool and anti-microbial 37.5.

“It is a little boring for consumers if we only produce one kind of tech fabric,” says Ms. Gu.

In 1988, KOLONSPORT began to provide amenities for the South Korean Sejong Polar Research Group. In 2012, it provided tailor-made ANTARCTICA down jackets to the South Korean Antarctic Expedition Team to guarantee that team members could still work at -55.

2021 marked the tenth anniversary of ANTARCTICA, and the upgraded new collection ANTARCTICA ORIGINAL was launched. ANTARCTICA ORIGINAL combines insulation with lightness and mobility.

Meanwhile, KOLONSPORT rolled out ANTARCTICA LITE as a more stylish collection that inherited ANTARCTICA’s insulation technology.

ANTARCTICA ORIGINAL and ANTARCTICA LITE represents two iconic KOLONSPORT collections that feature performance and lifestyle, respectively.

“Performance highlights expertise, with male consumers as its target audience, while lifestyle, being more suitable for business and commuting, meets the day-to-day requirements of women.”

It can be seen that KOLONSPORT not only produces high quality down jackets as its signature products but also pushes the envelope to provide multi-category garments for all seasons.

KOLONSPORT as Anta’s Third Growth Curve

In 2020, Anta Sports started to identify three growth curves based on three sports brands, a corner stone curve with Anta brand at the core covering the mass, experts and domestic product markets, a high-quality, high-growth curve by FILA’s elegant sportswear and a high potential one featuring KOLONSPORT and DESCENTE.

It was evidenced by Anta Group’s 2021 half-year financial statement that KOLONSPORT and DESCENTE maintained fast growth, upped by 90.1% year-on-year at 1.407-billion-yuan, accounting for 6.1% of the brand’s total revenue. It achieved a 106.0% increase compared to 2019, ranking at the top among the three.

Ms. Gu said, “‘Distribution channel’ is the most valuable asset that Anta brought to KOLONSPORT. After the joint venture was established, KOLONSPORT capitalized on Anta Sport’s domestic network to enter core business districts in 1st-tier and 2nd-tier cities, which allowed KOLONSPORT to step up and tap the high-end market.”

In August 2021, KOLONSPORT’s first brick and mortar flagship store opened in Xi’an (as shown below). On January 15th 2022, its first urban concept store was established at Beijing apm. In the future, more stores will be opened in key cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan, etc.

| Photo Credit: KOLONSPORT

| Writer: Jiaqi Wang


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