While badminton only became an official medal sport in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, the shuttlecock that is used for the game traces back to over two thousand years ago. With growing number of participants in the sport across the globe, shuttlecock had gained high popularity over the years. Wide range of population are also adopting badminton as a part of their leisure activity which in turn surged the sales of shuttlecock and other equipment. In addition, emergence of shuttlecock in varying color and made of different components such as plastic and nylon are likely to favor the growth of global shuttlecock market.
Asia Pacific to Record Significant Growth Rate in Global Shuttlecock Market
Expansion of shuttlecock market is directly influenced by the Summer Olympics. Asia Pacific shuttlecock market is likely to witness robust growth in the coming years, owing to wide popularity of badminton across the region coupled with the most-awaited 2020 Summer Olympics or Tokyo 2020. Rise in the number of international badminton players as well as growing number of badminton tournaments hosted by the developing countries are anticipated to boost the growth of shuttlecock market in Asia Pacific. Further, adoption of e-commerce sites for the sales of shuttlecock is foreseen to fuel the market growth.
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Increasing Participation in Badminton to Boost Global Demand
Badminton continues to grow in popularity – both stadium attendance and TV audience have witnessed a steady increase over the years. With over 200 million amateur and professional players, the sport has significant penetration across Europe and Asia. Marquee championships, such as Thomas Cup, BWF World Championship, and Uber Cup continue to attract sponsorships from some of the biggest brands in the market. The fact that badminton is a sport contested at the Summer Olympics has further led to its expansion and popularity.
Asia has gained center stage for sports equipment manufacturers from around the globe, owing to its behemoth target audience and a vast demographic in the age group 18-35. Badminton sports equipment manufacturers are not oblivious to these opportunities, and are working on boosting their profile in the region. Their cause has been furthered by the recent success of Asian players in this highly competitive sport. The rising popularity of the sport has opened up a slew of opportunities for badminton equipment sales, with racquet and shuttlecock sales growing at a steady clip. Future growth of the badminton equipment market in general, and shuttlecock market in particular, is likely to be influenced by the increase/decrease in participation levels in Asia.
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Plastic, Nylon, and Synthetic: Focus on Mass Production Influencing Manufactures to Scour for Feasible Alternatives to Feathers
To pace up with the growing requirements of the amateur and professional badminton players, major manufacturers such as Yonex and Li-Ning are focusing on diversifying their product line. Launch of shuttlecocks made from plastic, nylon, and synthetic components in replacement of feather. For instance, Yonex has developed a range of ‘Mavis’ shuttlecocks that are made of nylon and Flight of these shuttlecocks are close to that of the feather shuttlecocks.
In addition, a leading sports brand based in China – Li-Ning has developed a Super Feather Shuttlecock, which is composed of goose feather to offer smooth and accurate flight under various weather conditions. In addition, the company is equipping these shuttlecocks with composite cork heads that include rubber components. Also, a recent trend witnessed in among the shuttlecock manufacturers is incorporating novel features in the shuttlecocks such as incorporating LED lights. Besides incorporating novel features, major manufacturers such as Yonex are focusing on offering shuttlecocks in various colors to offer enhanced visibility to the customers.
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Local Goes Global: E-Commerce Emerging as a Lucrative Platform for Domestic Asian Manufacturers
Sales of shuttlecock will continue to remain high through various online portals such as Amazon.com, Alibaba.com, and Snapdeal. In order to expand their customer base, local sport equipment companies are also offering their products through the online portals at discounted prices.
Bedini, Kimoni International, Li-Ning, and Aisheng Co. Ltd. are some of the major manufacturers in Asia, whereas Victor A.Henkel and Yonex are the prominent manufacturers in Europe. However, the unorganized market players in various countries of Asia, particularly in China are likely to dominate the market in terms of sales as they are offering these products at reasonable or discounted rates.
Besides Europe and Asia, leading market players in North America such as Ashaway, Sports Import, Pointforce, and Yonex USA are focusing on attaining a competitive edge in the global market through offering innovative products for improved performance and experience to the amateur and professional market players. Through product innovation and differentiation, these players are focusing on sustaining their lead in the competitive market.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Symbiotic Way of Raising Brand Awareness
In addition to developing innovative products, leading market players are also engaging in various CSR activities to improve their brand identity and recognition. For instance, a leading Yonex has organized various events to promote healthy living such as walk rallies. The company utilizes a special tool to precisely measure the walker’s foot to ensure that the individuals are wearing comfortable footwear to enjoy walking.
In addition, major manufacturing companies such as Murata are taking initiatives to engage in various social contribution activities to promote sports among individuals of various age groups. For instance, Murata is engaging in social activities to assist in nurturing the children by delivering lectures to the junior high school students and elementary students. In addition, the company is taking initiatives to promote cultural and sports activities by sponsoring Wakaba Cup, an All-Japan School Children’s Sports Tournament. Through engaging in the various social activities and taking CSR initiatives, major market players across countries are focusing on establishing their brand identity and improving their brand recognition among customers.
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