BUSINESS Late night snacking by soccer fans lifts sector


Late night snacking by soccer fans lifts sector

China Daily

08:17, November 26, 2022

Photo: VCG

The ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar is being accompanied in China by booming consumption of snacks and beverages, as well as hotel stays, which industry experts said will warm up the winter catering and online consumption sectors during their typical off season.

Data from online delivery platform Meituan showed that on the opening day of the World Cup on Sunday, orders for beer, beverages, snacks and fruit soared 31 percent on average from the month before, and registered a 27 percent increase year-on-year.

Among them, takeaway orders for beer saw the biggest growth of 43 percent month-on-month, and those for sunflower seeds, a popular type of Chinese snack, jumped 69 percent compared with the previous month, Meituan said.

"During this year's World Cup, demand for foods, beverages — especially beer — saw significant increases from Chinese fans. Notably, since the game is being held in the colder months, it is expected to extend the traditional peak sales season for beer from the second and third quarters in the country," said a research team led by Liu Yi, an analyst from CITIC Securities.

Due to the time difference between China and Qatar, most games begin airing at night in China. This boosts sales of takeaway dinners and midnight snacks, thus driving new growth in the catering and online consumption sectors during a typically slow season.

Fresh food retailer Hema said on Thursday that orders for hotpot offerings increased by more than 40 percent over the past week.

Another interesting trend is that supplements like American ginseng, wolfberry honey and donkey-hide gelatin all witnessed sales surges as fans hope to boost energy while staying up late, Hema said.

"This year's World Cup is also expected to further ignite a passion for sports among Chinese fans, and spur soccer-related consumption, including electronic devices, over the short term and long term," Liu said.

From Monday to Wednesday, sales of soccer balloons and decorative flags, cards featuring soccer stars as well as World Cup-themed tattoo stickers rose by 2,950 percent, 933 percent and 440 percent, respectively, month-on-month on Meituan. Take-away orders for projectors on the platform also increased by 165 percent year-on-year.

As the tournament got underway, bookings for hotel rooms with larger screens for the World Cup also surged 30-fold on the opening day of the games in China, compared with the previous day, where fans can enjoy the game without disturbing families or neighbors, according to major online travel agency Tongcheng Travel.

These rooms are particularly popular in cities like Shanghai, Changsha, Wuhan, Xi'an and Hangzhou, the agency found.

While male fans contributed to the majority of the bookings, which accounted for 63 percent of the total, this year also witnessed a growing number of female fans booking rooms, it added.

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