OUR BOOM­ING LAZY ECON­OMY

Chi­nese mil­len­ni­als are spend­ing lots to do very lit­tle

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Qi Xi­jia

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.

Photo: VCG

Pho­tos: VCG

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