China got so obsessed with Ultimate Frisbee during the pandemic that the discs are now one of the three fastest-growing consumer products in the country, only behind COVID products, according to data from BigOne Lab, a Chinese business intelligence research company.
The frisbee is beating out sales of other products like liquid coffee, collagen drinks, and cloth diapers in the last six months, according to data published by BigOne Lab, which tracks sales across China’s largest e-commerce platforms like Tmall, JD, and Douyin.
Only COVID antigen tests and pulse oximeters are currently faster-growing products than frisbees.
Frisbee sales have grown nearly 700% year on year, peaking at more than 9 million between 2022 and 2023, according to BigOne Lab’s data. Sales of the disk were highest in August 2022, before cooling off in the winter months due to an uptick in COVID infections.
According to Xiaohongshu, another Chinese social media and e-commerce platform, the frisbee market was worth 85 million yuan –– more than $12 million USD in 2021.
“It remains to be seen whether this is just a one-time fad,” Robert Wu, the CEO of BigOne Lab, wrote in his newsletter BaiGuan. “But what is undeniable is that Chinese people have become more outdoor,” he added, citing how people have also taken up hiking, cycling, and camping.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has long had ambitions of turning the country into a soccer powerhouse.
China has one of soccer’s largest followings, with more than 100 million fans, despite participating in the World Cup only once, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Last April, China’s Ministry of Education altered the country’s physical education curriculum to include frisbee. In July, the government said it would establish a national Ultimate Frisbee league.
- In a July 2022 story for The World, Rebecca Kanthor wrote that “soccer may be China’s national sport, but enthusiasm for frisbee — a quintessentially American sport — is soaring in China.” She credited the pandemic for the sport’s rise in popularity, as well as the fact that it is no-contact and mixed-gender. “That may be one of the reasons that women, especially, are flocking to it now,” she wrote.