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Takeaway economy resumes as orders soar

By Zhao Shiyue | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-13 17:39

A delivery man drives to deliver the meal in Lujiazui business district, Shanghai, on March 5, 2020. [Photo/Sipa]

As the epidemic gradually comes under control, catering economy has been seeing a rapid recovery since majority of enterprises resumed work from Feb 17. Takeout merchants, orders quantity and transaction volume grew steadily, with about 30 percent merchants saw increase of orders compared to the time before epidemic broke out, according to a report released by Meituan, China's largest online food delivery platform.

Meituan analyzed the work resumption statistics in catering industry from Feb 17 to March 1, and found more than 55 percent of restaurants have already reopened across the country. Shanghai ranked first in the numbers of active catering merchants among all cities in the country, followed by Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Beijing.

However, Shenzhen won the first place in top five cities for takeout order quantities in China, with Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu ranking second to fifth, respectively.

The consumption habit of food delivery is accelerating from first-tier cities to second- and third-tier cities. From Feb 17 to March 1, Meituan noted Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, saw the largest increase of orders, compared with Jan 6 to Jan 19, the time before epidemic. Harbin, Nanchang, Xi'an and Dongguan won the second to fifth spot.

As the report suggested, hotpot orders soar after work resumes, and orders from Feb 24 to Mar 1 registered a 50 percent growth compared to a week earlier. Over 18,000 hotpot stores started takeout services on Meituan platform, a clear signal of business recovery.

Although the post-90s generation is still the largest group of takeout consumers out there, a growing number of people born in 1960s and 1970s began to make takeout orders, accounting for 36.7 percent and 31.5 percent of total customer groups, respectively.

It's also worth noting that apart from meal packages, other orders, including vegetables, everyday items and medicines experienced a particularly large growth during the epidemic, up 77 percent. In the Spring festival vacation, sales volume of vegetables, meat and seafood expanded 200 percent month on month, with cooking ingredients like garlic, scallions and gingers sold about 3.93 million pieces.

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