Chinese buy up Canadian Olympics team’s Lululemon down jacket

Business & Technology

Lululemon’s maple-red jackets for the Canadian Olympic team were a hit in China, where the company’s website crashed several times due to an influx of traffic. Overseas, however, the outfits bombed.

Lululemon Team Canada Olympic gear
Lululemon unveils its Team Canada uniforms for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Toronto. Image via Reuters Connect.

As the world watched the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing last week, their eyes drifted from the dazzling digital performance to the down jackets worn by the various national teams.

  • The Canadian team’s maple-red Lululemon jackets went viral on the Chinese social media platform Weibo over the weekend, and the Lululemon website reportedly crashed several times due to the influx of Chinese buyers.
  • Some international students also reported being woken up by friends and relatives in China to buy the jacket on their behalf.
  • Outside of China, however, the outfits bombed, receiving an overwhelmingly sour reaction on Twitter.

The context: Lululemon, a Vancouver-based apparel brand famous for its yoga pants, became the official sponsor of the Canadian Olympic team last year by beating out the previous sponsor of 16 years, Hudson’s Bay Company. Lululemon provided the full attire for the Canadian team for the opening and closing ceremonies, award ceremonies, and daily gear.

  • China has become essential to Lululemon’s international growth. Sales in China more than doubled during the pandemic as yoga and other wellness activities flourished. The earnings in China significantly outpaced the brand’s overall growth in international markets.
  • “We are just in the early phases of our growth, both in China and around the world,” the CEO said. Lululemon operates its China headquarters out of Shanghai.
  • Lululemon had 71 stores in China as of October 31, 2021, including in Hong Kong and Macau, and has added 16 new stores since the beginning of this year.

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The takeaway: Canadian brands such as Canada Goose and Lululemon are much loved by Chinese despite the political tensions between the two countries. As wellness becomes top of mind for health-conscious Chinese consumers, Lululemon has become a gold standard for up-and-coming Chinese apparel brands.