China is Hungry for Convenience

Drivers of food delivery service Meituan in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters

Drivers of food delivery service Meituan in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters

Delivery is becoming a way of life in urban China on an unparalleled scale. A group aptly called “肥宅” (chubby shut-ins) has emerged as a result of this new lifestyle among youngsters - if you can dream it, you can get it delivered. Such a phenomenon, hardly believable a decade ago when a large part of the country still relied on dial-up Internet, seems inevitable as delivery service in China becomes increasingly convenient and ubiquitous.

Meituan drivers line up for their daily briefing. Photo:    Tech.Huanqiu

Meituan drivers line up for their daily briefing. Photo: Tech.Huanqiu

In addition to the rapid development of Internet in China, the rise of delivery services have grown on the back of cheap labour costs and tightly connected neighbourhoods. The average labour cost of each order is expected to remain at around USD$1 and an average order takes around 35 minutes to deliver. The Chinese little brothers, or “小哥,” are delivery men who can bring you just about anything you ever need to buy at a store. Late night toothpaste crisis? Run out of ice? Fancy an impromptu at home hot pot session? Your wish is the command of a small army of delivery drivers - who can often show up within 30 minutes from placing your order.

Hotpot can now be delivered to your home. Photo: Sina.com

Hotpot can now be delivered to your home. Photo: Sina.com

The vast variety of delivery options and the growing number of people dependent on delivery services have allowed merchants to prepare numerous orders simultaneously at a lower cost. UBS also found that the cost of preparing a home-cooked meal can actually add up to more than a delivered meal, not to mention the time and energy required to cook at home.

Deliveryman unpacking someone’s “外卖” (delivery) dinner. Photo: 127.net

Deliveryman unpacking someone’s “外卖” (delivery) dinner. Photo: 127.net

As delivery becomes an essential part of daily live amongst Chinese millennials, it is crucial for F&B brands to focus on not only what they provide but also how they want to reach consumers - and how well their products deliver. China’s largest food delivery and group buying platform (think the hyper convenient love child of Uber Eats, Groupon, and Yelp) Meituan Dianping (美团点评), currently has 340 million registered users - nearly the size of the US population. Those are the ratings that count for the food and beverage brands cashing in on this generation of convenience consumers.


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About Us

Established in 2018, Taste Collective is a marketing and brand strategy consultancy for food and beverage brands in China. Headquartered in Shanghai, Taste Collective has a combined 20+ years working in the hospitality and marketing sectors, with focus on experience-driven solutions for brands to build deeper connectivity with their audience.

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