In 2020, the interest in domestic outdoor activities soared after international travel dried up, leading Alibaba Group e-commerce site Tmall to dub 2020 “The Year of Camping” after related searches on the platform jumped 297% year-on-year.
In 2021, the trend is still going strong albeit with a comfort-first twist reported Alizila.
Glamping, characterised by short stays in well-appointed lounge tents, has a global market estimated at US$ 1.88 billion in 2020 and an expected compound annual growth rate of 14.1 percent over the next seven years, according to a report by market researcher Grand View Research.
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In China, the trend is appealing to young urbanites who crave fresh air and nature but desire creature comforts like soft mattresses, wicker furniture and picturesque campsites complete with twinkle lights.
Reality TV show Oh My Youth debuted in April, featuring a rotating cast of influencers who camp in lavish digs in different provinces of China. Meanwhile, the feeds of social media sites like Xiaohongshu remain crowded with chic camping-inspired posts.
Even luxury brands are getting the memo; fashion label Prada transformed one of its Shanghai stores into an indoor glamping experience in May, featuring a solarium dotted with canvas tents.
Glamping’s recent popularity in China may be because it chimes well with Chinese consumers’ definition of the outdoors, which is unique from their western counterparts.
Time in nature means more than mountain hikes and desert treks for Chinese consumers; it includes park picnics and relaxing trips to rural areas.
“The Chinese concept of going outdoors is different from the West. Given the country’s population density, they have a different perspective and outdoor activities can be as simple as going to the park with a cup of coffee” told Jacob Cooke, CEO and co-founder of Beijing-based e-commerce agency WPIC Marketing and Technologies in an interview with Alizila.
More than 7,500 camping-related enterprises in China were founded in the first six months of 2021, almost as many appeared over the whole of 2020, according to business registration data.
Purchases of outdoor-related products, from comfortable wooden chairs and cute travel mugs to photogenic canvas tents and delicate strands of lights, are also up and have jumped by over 130 percent in the case of Tmall’s 6.18 sales.
There is a significant growth potential for China’s outdoor vacation market, which is dominated by short overnight trips.
The average domestic camping or glamping trip lasts just three days, the Beijing International Studies University reported, while Europeans pitch their tents for 14 days on average.
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But as more Chinese spend time outdoors — and embark on longer trips — the market for camping-related goods and services will grow, hitting an approximate US$ 100 billion valuation by 2025, according to a report by Beijing-based consultancy Daxue.