OUR BOOMING LAZY ECONOMY
Chinese millennials are spending lots to do very little
Zhang Sichun is willing to spend an extra 20 yuan ($2.9) every day just to be lazy. Upon waking up, the 25-year-old woman books a hailing car from an app to pick her up and drive her to a nearby metro station. While waiting for the car, she washes up, gets dressed and puts on makeup. When she steps out of her apartment elevator, her driver is already waiting. While on the metro, she uses another app to order takeout breakfast which will be dropped off at her office desk before she even arrives.
It costs her an additional 14 yuan every day for a 2-kilometer ride just to spend 20 minutes longer in her warm bed and a 6 yuan food-delivery fee to avoid waiting in a line. “But I feel it is worth it. It is not a big sum of money yet makes my life so much more comfortable and easier,” Zhang told the Global Times.
Zhang is not the only Chinese spending big on laziness. According to a new report called “Lazy People Consumption Data” released by Taobao, China’s lazy economy is gaining traction fast. It is estimated that Chinese spent 16 billion yuan in 2018 alone just to be lazy, a rise of 70 percent compared to the previous year. Millennials such as Zhang are the fastest-growing consumer group among the booming lazy economy.
With the rise of China’s online-tooffline commerce and a societal shift in our mindsets, more and more people are willing to spend on laziness to save time and energy that can be better used to create value. Driven by this demand, many new “lazy gadgets” are being made and sold by Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs. According to the report, sales of “lazy household objects” such as mobile phone brackets and even sofas have grown by 28 percent compared with 2017; intelligent electronic appliances such as floor-sweeping machines and window-cleaning devices have increased by 50 and 150 percent respectively; sales of convenient meals such as
self-service hot pot and barbecue increased by 150 percent. Aside from such things, the lazy economy has also given rise to lazy services such as instant delivery and drop-ins.
According to a report released by iiMedia Research, 355 million people are expected to use instant delivery services in China in 2018.
Efficient leisure time
College student Wei Duo, 21, is a frequent user of instant delivery services. “I once had a birthday cake delivered to my friend who lives in Fengxian district. It cost me 50 yuan but saved me almost half a day to deliver it myself. My friend was also happy because she got to eat the cake instantly,” Wei told the Global Times.
Time-saving is the backbone of China’s lazy economy. Young people are willing to pay for services that save their own hard-earned leisure time after a busy and stressful day at work or school. Because of the need to focus on their studies or jobs, these so-called lazy people are inclined to use their leisure time more efficiently, even if it costs them.
Yin Yin, 29, is deeply addicted to lazy services. Her job requires her to work intensely for a whole eight hours, five days per week, which means that she can’t be bothered by housework or running errands on her precious weekends.
On hot summer days she orders ice cream and popsicles
to be delivered right to her doorway. “An ice-lolly costs 6 yuan and I pay an extra 6 yuan delivery fee. I think 12 yuan is worth it because it saves me from a sweaty trip outside in the 36 C weather,” Yin told the Global Times.
She also hires an ayi to clean her home twice per month, which costs 80 yuan for a two-hour service. “I don’t like cleaning and I can earn more than 80 yuan if I work for 2 hours instead of clean,” said Yin.
Rising consumption habits
Indeed, new jobs and services are popping up all over China to meet the rising demand of this new economy. Drop-in cosmetology, massage services and even crayfish de-shelling are things now. Hong Dou, 25, said that instead of leasing an apartment from traditional real estate agents, she rents through an online platform which provides a private butler for each tenant.
“The platform knows what kind of home we want, which looks much more appealing to young people. It saved our time when looking for a place to live,” Hong told the Global Times. Once Hong moved in, she had her own personal butler to take care of almost everything, from cleaning to repairs.
“In the past, if you reported a problem with your apartment to the landlord, you’d have to wait for them to personally come and fix it. But with a private butler service, you will quickly get your problem solved,” said Hong.
China’s lazy economy is powered by the rising consumption habits of its younger populous and is greatly affecting consumer service trends and product quality for the better. But problems exist, such as privacy concerns, data leakage and a lack of security.
According to iiMedia Research, privacy leakage is the biggest concern for users who regularly use instant delivery apps, with over 45 percent of those surveyed saying they are worried about what these companies will do with their data. But if our lazy economy can find a balance between customer satisfaction and information security, then we can expect even more from this rising market.