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News for January 17, 2022

Chinese City Dwellers Embrace Glamping, Boost Camping Equipment Industry

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In the wake of pandemic-induced cabin fever, China’s city-dwellers are now seeking outdoor activities for relaxation and camping in groups, boosting the camping equipment market. 

In the past year, the interest in outdoor activities in China increased following the decline of international travel, which led Alibaba Group, an e-commerce site, to dub the year 2020 as “The Year of Camping” due to the increase of related searches on the platform with 297 percent over the year.

In 2021, the glamping trend remains to grow, but with an element of comfort first, as experienced by California-based sustainable drinkware company Klean Kanteen, which sells its appealing metal mugs and bottles to Chinese urban dwellers.

“What we call glamor camping, or glamping, here in the United States seems to be resonating with Chinese consumers,” said Michael Duffy, the brand’s vice president of global sales and customer service.

Glamping, defined as brief stays in luxurious lounge tents, had an estimated global market of $1.88 billion last year with an expected compound annual growth (CAGR) of 14.1 percent over the coming seven years, a study by market research firm Grand View Research found.

In China, the glamping trend appeals to urban youths searching for fresh air and the outdoors but crave comforts such as comfortable mattresses, wicker furniture, and stunning campsites with twinkling lights.

Glamping’s current popularity in China might be because it is in line with Chinese consumers’ perception of outdoor living, which is unique compared to westerners.

Nature time is more than hiking in the mountains and desert hikes for Chinese customers; it also includes picnics at the park and leisure excursions to the countryside, explained Jacob Cooke, CEO and co-founder of Beijing-based agency for e-commerce WPIC Marketing and Technologies.

“The Chinese concept of going outdoors is different from the West,” he said. “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.”

More than 7,500 camping-related businesses were founded in China during the first six months of 2021. That’s almost the same number created in the entire year 2020, based on business registration data. 

The purchase of outdoor-related items, including cozy wooden chairs, cute travel mugs to gorgeous canvas tents, and delicate strings of lighting, are also rising and have increased by more than 130%, according to Tmall’s 6.18 sales.

There remains a significant opportunity for growth in China’s outdoor tourism market dominated by short overnight getaways.

According to the Beijing International Studies University, the average camping or glamping experience in China lasts three days, while Europeans set up camping tents over 14 days, on average.

As more Chinese are spending time outdoors and taking longer journeys and longer trips, camping-related items and services will expand and reach an estimated $100 billion value by 2025, as per a report by Beijing-based consulting firm Daxue.

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