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The Surge of China's "Summer Economy": A Trillion-Yuan Opportunity

iiMedia Research has compiled insights on the "Summer Economy" from multiple reports. Below, we present a comprehensive overview and key insights derived from this valuable information


As the mercury rises, so does the potential of China's "Summer Economy". This year, with temperatures soaring to new highs, the nation has witnessed a significant uptick in the demand for summer-centric products and services. From refreshing beverages to sun protection products and summer tourism, industries are capitalizing on this seasonal trend, unlocking trillions in consumer potential.


  • The Heatwave and the "Summer Economy":

This summer has been exceptionally scorching. By mid-June, various regions in China experienced record-breaking temperatures, leading many to quip about being "too hot to handle". But this heatwave brought with it a silver lining: the rise of the "Summer Economy". As people sought respite from the heat, businesses saw an opportunity to cater to these summer-specific needs, leading to a surge in sales and brand enhancement.


  • Quenching the Summer Thirst: The Rise of Refreshing Beverages:

One of the most noticeable trends this summer has been the skyrocketing demand for cold drinks, especially new-style tea beverages. Brands like "Nayuki" have become household names, with some reporting a sales increase of over 150% during the hottest days.


But it's not just about traditional teas. The market has been flooded with innovative beverages, from the "ice series" to the "ice-shaking series", all aiming to capture the consumer's attention. According to iiMedia Research, by 2025, the market size for new-style tea beverages in China is projected to reach a staggering 3749.3 billion yuan. In 2022, the Chinese beverage market showcased a rich diversity of frequently consumed categories. Notably, packaged drinking water led the pack with a consumption rate of 62.7%, followed closely by carbonated beverages at 55.0%, dairy products at 54.0%, and sparkling water at 42.0%.


  • A Healthier Summer: The Shift to Sugar-Free and Low-Sugar Options:

With increasing health consciousness among consumers, there's a noticeable shift towards healthier beverage options. Sugar-free and low-sugar drinks are no longer niche; they are becoming mainstream. The growth in this sector has been phenomenal. From a modest 22.6 billion yuan in 2015, the market for sugar-free beverages in China is expected to soar to 748.9 billion yuan by 2027. This trend underscores the evolving consumer mindset, where health and taste go hand in hand.


  • Hot Selling Cooling Appliances: Consumers Prioritize Practicality and Smart Features:

During the recent "618" e-commerce promotion period, the scorching weather drove a surge in sales for cooling appliances with practical and smart functionalities. Products like air conditioners, electric fans, mini-fridges, and ice makers witnessed a significant boost in demand. Other cooling appliances such as air purifiers and air circulator fans also saw remarkable growth at 671% and 32% year-on-year, respectively. Refrigerators and other cooling devices experienced a 27% year-on-year growth, while sales of household mini-fridges, wine cabinets, and instant cold-water dispensers surged by 53%. According to iiMedia Research data, 76.4% of consumers prioritize the practicality of smart home appliances when making purchase decisions. As the younger generation becomes the main driving force of consumption, smart consumption has become the mainstream trend in the home appliance market


  • Sun Protection: Not Just About Sunscreens:

As the sun blazes down, there's a heightened awareness about sun protection. While sunscreens remain popular, physical sun protection methods are gaining traction. Products like sun-protective clothing, hats, and umbrellas are seeing a surge in demand. Data suggests that 71.3% of consumers believe physical sun protection methods, like clothing, are more effective than chemical ones.


  • Summer Tourism: The New Growth Frontier:

Summer is synonymous with vacations. With schools closing for summer breaks, there's a palpable rise in indoor entertainment and summer tourism. Reports suggest that the market size for summer tourism in China is between a whopping 1.2 trillion to 1.5 trillion yuan.


Short trips, especially to water parks, outdoor tourist routes, and rural areas, are becoming increasingly popular. Places like Yunnan, Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia are witnessing a surge in tourists. The emphasis is on experiences – be it camping in the wild or enjoying a rural homestay.


  • Embracing the Night: Expanding Daytime Economic Activities:

This summer, Zibo's sizzling barbecue scene has captivated the online world. Since May, "Zibo"-related topics have trended on Weibo more than 20 times, igniting interest in local tourism and the flourishing nighttime economy. Inspired by Zibo's success, various regions are actively cultivating their own night economies and barbecue industries, capitalizing on the allure of "excellent examples from Zibo" combined with their unique local characteristics. As the summer commenced, searches for "nighttime activities" surged by an impressive 80% compared to the previous year's data, while the number of strategy notes related to these activities on Dianping grew by a remarkable 160% year-on-year.


From cultural and artistic pursuits like shopping, movies, exhibitions, and performances to unconventional endeavours such as fitness, role-playing games, camping, night climbing, and instant retail, the night economy is experiencing an unprecedented surge. As businesses thrive during the nighttime hours, a multitude of innovative formats are emerging, inviting customers to explore comprehensive nighttime sports and entertainment complexes that are gradually becoming an integral part of their lives.


The Future of the "Summer Economy”


China's "Summer Economy" is not a fleeting trend; it's here to stay. As businesses tap into this trillion-yuan opportunity, innovation will be at the forefront. Whether it's launching a new beverage flavour, introducing a sun-protective fashion line, or curating unique summer travel packages, the key will be to stay attuned to consumer needs and preferences.


The summer of 2023 might be one of the hottest on record, but for businesses, it's proving to be a goldmine of opportunities. As consumer behaviour evolves and trends fluctuate, tapping into the potential of this sizzling season can significantly impact your brand's success, contact us now to find out more.

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