The athletic tapes market in Asia Pacific (APAC) is likely to witness a significant surge owing to growing awareness on injury management and prevention drives adoption. Devoid of substantial empirical evidence concerning the use of athletic tapes with performance improvement, sales in APAC will continue to be influenced by positive word-of-mouth and physician/chiropractor recommendations.
According to Fact.MR, the athletic tapes marketplace remains moderately fragmented, and multinational brands face pricing pressures from local manufacturers in Asia Pacific. Product penetration is sizeable among hockey and soccer players, but professional tennis players remain the top draw on account of better product visibility and familiarity of support staff with athletic tapes. China remains at the forefront, both in terms of innovation and sales in Asia Pacific and the status quo is likely to remain unchanged during the period of forecast. The surging sales of athletic tapes in the Asia Pacific makes China the largest market for athletic tapes in the region.
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Albeit athletic tapes are available at modern trade channels, e-commerce, direct-to-customer channel, and some drug stores, sporting goods stores remain the preferred sales channel for Asia Pacific region. Availability of a wide range of affordable and aesthetically pleasing athletic tapes at sporting goods stores continues to be a key factor driving demand. Athletic tape sales through third-party online channels have emerged as a growing trend, with many leading manufacturers tying up with e-commerce portals to target last mile consumers. The leading athletic tape manufacturers are now able to penetrate into markets that were once considered off-limits. It is highly likely that online sales will continue to be a lucrative sales channel for Asia Pacific.
The key participants in APAC athletic tapes market are focusing on improving product visibility by aligning with sports and tournaments where they expect hundreds of thousands of eyeballs. KT Sports, a key market participant of South Korea, has frequently tied up with local and international teams to increase product visibility. The type of sport to tie-up with is also of paramount importance, as the visibility of the product varies from sport to sport.
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The study also offers forecast on the athletic tapes market at a global scale, with growth estimated to record an impressive 11.4% CAGR value through 2028. The report states that demand for kinesiology athletic tapes remained subdued for a long time, as applications were limited to patients undergoing physical recuperation. However, the product received unprecedented surge in popularity after US volleyball player Kerri Walsh sported it at the 2008 Olympics while recovering from a rotator-cuff injury. The popularity of the product has led to recommendations and prescriptions by physicians and chiropractors, and establishment of a multi-million dollar marketplace. Kinesiology tapes are likely to outsell other conventional athletic tapes available in the market, and consistently hold over 50% revenue share during the assessment period.
Positive word-of-mouth has helped boost sales of athletic tapes, ambiguities about their actual benefits persist. According to an independent study published in the Sports Medicine, taping can only have a “beneficial role” in the improving the strength and range of motion. The report also suggested that further independent studies should be used for confirming the findings. Considering the market scenario, the demand for kinesiology and other athletic tapes can receive an impetus if conclusive and empirical studies demonstrate their benefits for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
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