Updates from Barbara Hans, COO Serviceplan Asia
On last week’s webinar [watch here], we heard more optimistic news from our offices in China. In case you missed them, here are the latest Chinese consumer trends.
Street vendors combat unemployment
Vendors and customers are fearful of returning to the traditional wet market setting. At the same time, the government is looking for ways to support those who have lost their income because of COVID-19. In response, sellers have taken to open-air streets in food trucks offering haircuts, fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, and prepared meals. One of the largest e-commerce platforms Pinduoduo subsidized the initiative, with trucks available for just $280 versus the usual price of $7,000. Contactless payment systems are supporting the trend, with thousands of new payment QR codes registered every day.
Supply chain scrutiny is increasing
The focus on food safety is not limited to wet markets. More than ever, Chinese consumers are asking where their food comes from and whether it is safe. This a logical progression now that the spotlight has been cast on the relationship between proper food sanitation and health. Retailers, suppliers, and agricultural companies are working to improve their sourcing practices and transparency in response.
Domestic travel has a new look
Chinese travelers have discovered a love of road trips - previously an unpopular or even unheard-of concept in China. With international travel still off the table, private cars offer a clean and private space for entire families to enjoy freedom and the open road. People are flocking to the countryside to appreciate the natural beauty they have been overlooking in their own backyards. The subsequent rise in car sales is a clear proof point: Ford announced that both the Ford and Lincoln brands have come back with sales 40 percent higher than they were in April 2019.
Back to work, but safety first
Lastly, white collar workers are back in the office full-time. In China, going to work is regarded as a pleasant experience, given that most people live in smaller homes often with several generations under one roof. At work, employees have freedom, space and plenty of peer interaction. Safety measures like temperature checks, masks, and hand sanitizer are in place to ward off a second wave of infections.