As more consumers are hitting the gym in China, mobile fitness apps are also gaining in popularity. One app that’s been especially successful thanks to its combination of social media and e-commerce is fitness-planning app Keep, and brands are taking notice.
The number one app in the “Health and Fitness” category for iOS in China, Keep just reported it now has 100 million users, up from 60 million in October 2016. L2’s Activewear China report finds that top international activewear brands including ASICS, Lululemon, Under Armour, New Balance, and The North Face have launched promotions on the app.
With an Instagram-style social media component that allows fitness fanatics to show off their toned physiques in gym selfies, Keep provides brands with the opportunity to create social campaigns featuring celebrities, contests, or event promotions. When Under Armour sponsored Tom Brady’s visit to China in June, it launched a Keep campaign that asked users to write a personal “Exercise Manifesto” for the chance to win an Under Armour shirt. Meanwhile, Lululemon used the app to promote a yoga class in Beijing taught by a star instructor.
Keep also features an e-commerce shop that allows users to purchase fitness gear with online payment methods including WeChat Pay and Alipay. The app teams up with other brands for sales promotions such as a collaboration with ASICS that provided users with a tutorial on picking the right sneaker and link to purchase ASICS shoes in Keep’s store.
As brands have been sponsoring fitness classes across China in order to educate Chinese consumers about pursuing an active lifestyle, reaching communities on these apps can help brands target those already in the market for athletic gear. In addition to broad fitness apps like Keep, apps on the market targeting enthusiasts in a specific activity like running, yoga, or cycling can reach even more focused niche communities. Nike has already created its own separate social media accounts for specific sports, such as its Nike Run Club WeChat account.