Night consumption lights up economy

Night consumption lights up China’s economic recovery
Tourists visit the night market in Shanghai’s Yu Garden on May 24. Photo by Wang Chu/People’s Daily Online

China’s night consumption has seen notable pickup in the recent months, particularly in the dining, traveling, shopping and entertainment sectors.

According to Didi Chuxing, a leading mobile transportation platform in China, car-hailing orders placed after 7:00 pm in most Chinese cities experienced a growth of at least 10 percent last month. Statistics from food delivery service provider Meituan also indicated that orders placed in major cities between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am the next day accounted for over 40 percent of a day’s total in the past two months. Besides, 39.8 percent of consumption in Alibaba’s Chinese retail market were made at night last month, up nearly 4 percentage points from a year ago, said the e-commerce giant.

At present, the Chinese consumption market is keeping continuous recovery. “The vitality of cities is gradually being released, and night consumption is bouncing back,” said Fu Yifu, senior researcher with the Suning Institute of Finance.

Night economy has become more well-structured and functional in many Chinese cities, and its businesses are also showing increasing diversity.

Kaifeng in Central China’s Henan Province launched and upgraded a series of night tour products, while over 180 featured night activities centering on shopping, snacking, touring, entertainment and reading kicked off in Shanghai, leading to a 10 percent monthly growth in night consumption.

Local governments and departments across China have launched a batch of night consumption activities, which not only deeply expands consumption models, but also enhances the convenience of night consumption.

According to Qunar, a Chinese online tour services provider, it has launched nearly 5,000 routes for night tourism since June this year, 2.7 times more than those in May.

“It was a fresh experience to have some food with my friends in the cafes on Yulin Road when the night fell and then enjoy the night views of the city on the Sichuan Tower Of China,” said a tourist named Hu Xiaoxia from Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province who recently had a trip to Chengdu, Sichuan Province in Southwest China.

Night tour products are not about rearranging existing tourism resources. Every aspect of these products, from the supply chain to value-added services, needs to be upgraded, said Gou Zhipeng, president of Qunar.

The accelerated recovery of night consumption wouldn’t have been realized without the application of new technologies. It is reported that livestream viewers of Taobao, an online shopping platform under Alibaba, are most active after 6:00 pm every day, and the period between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm is the prime time for Taobao’s livestream shows. To facilitate those running stalls at night, third-party mobile and online payment platform AliPay launched fluorescent payment code. At present, there are over 100,000 people registering for payment codes each day, and the nighttime transactions of more than 6 million shops outran those from a year ago.

To extend business hours is a way for merchants to attract customers. According to Meituan statistics, around 60 percent of the diners across the country that offer delivery service are still open after 10:00 pm, and about 40 percent deliver food after 12 midnight.

Third-party data mining and analysis organization iiMedia Research predicted that China’s night economy might hit 30 trillion yuan ($4.3 trillion) this year. Fu believes that the vitality of night consumption will help stimulate the consumption demand in catering, shopping, entertainment, leisure and tourism, and this will propel rapid development of relevant businesses.