Chinese consumers spent US$2.3 bln 'being lazy' in 2018
CGTN's Wang Qiwei
You may have already heard of the sharing economy or the pet economy, but in recent years, a new business model is quietly introducing itself across many industries in China – the "lazy economy."
As the pace of work and life becomes faster in China, many people like to stay away from tedious and time-consuming chores, so they can have more leisure time.
And this new type of consumer demand has given rise to the so-called "lazy economy." It is characterized by services and products that can go the extra mile for customers to make their lives easier.
For 25-year-old real estate agent Sun Yuan, a typical day begins around noon time. She usually follows her favorite TV series and pets her cat, while the robot vacuum cleaner does its job. And with just a few touches on her smartphone, a food delivery guy can bring her brunch right to her doorstep.
"Whenever I have a day off, I can stay at home all day long. As I'm always busy on work days, I often look for the 'lazy-person' items to make my life more comfortable," said Sun.
"For example, I use a robot vacuum cleaner to save time, and an adjustable iPad holder to free my hands when I'm watching TV series. I can also book other types of door-to-door services on mobile applications. I enjoy the convenience they bring me."
And fueled by this new demand of "being lazy," electronics retailers in China like Suning have seen a surge in the number of consumers who seek time-saving electronic products.
"The lazy economy is represented by a new consumption attitude and trend. Suning data shows, with the development of online retailing, our smart home appliances have experienced robust sales in recent years, especially in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing," said Wang Bo, vice general manager of Suning.com's Beijing operations.
Wang also told CGTN that sales of dishwashers at Suning doubled last year, and other smart home products have seen a year-on-year increase between 150 and 200 percent.
The customer experience is not only limited to the physical world but touches upon nearly every aspect of our lives. According to a report by Alibaba's online marketplace Taobao, Chinese consumers last year spent the equivalent of more than two billion US dollars on products that cater to the "lazy lifestyle," a 70 percent increase over the previous year.
And the biggest portion of that growth was fueled by young shoppers born after 1995, one of the key sources of growth for China's consumption-driven economy today.
"On the consumers' side, it would bring more convenience because the price becomes more transparent, and the competitions become more straight-forward. On the manufacturing side, they will keep digging what kind of final demands that consumers really need, so it will push forward the efficiency of the Chinese economy," said Jimmy Zhu, chief strategist at Fullerton Markets, "on the corporate side, they will also strengthen educational training, because the skill-sets needed will be different from time to time."
With technological advances and innovation, more and more people nowadays are embracing the convenience brought by the "lazy economy." It may just be as Sun Yuan said: it is by "being lazy" that we become truly efficient and come to appreciate what is more important in life.