Coffee drinking keeps pace with the frenetic lifestyle of Shanghai

(People's Daily Online) 14:22, June 25, 2023

The aroma of coffee has blended with the culture of east China's Shanghai, where coffee has gradually evolved from a functional beverage into a conduit of social interaction, and a lifestyle choice for many people.

The metropolis, a magnet for foreign capital and enterprises, has become the city with the highest number of coffeehouses in the world—8,530. There are 1.35 coffeehouses per square kilometer and 3.45 coffeehouses per 10,000 people in Shanghai.

A woman waits for her coffee to go at a coffeehouse in a business area of east China's Shanghai. (Photo/Qian Youyi)

Phenomenal popularity

Each Chinese person drinks an average of four cups of coffee a year, while in Shanghai it’s around 20 cups.

In recent years, coffee chain brands have raced to launch new products, open new stores, and leverage the internet to innovate services and make breakthroughs in localization in Shanghai.

With the numbers of takeout orders for coffee and online searches for "coffee" continuing to surge, coffee has become the hottest among all categories of catering products in Shanghai, according to data from China's service-focused e-commerce giant Meituan.

Since the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week in May 20, 2023, Shanghai has seen a 63 percent year-on-year increase in online searches for “coffee,” and group consumption in coffeehouses in the city ranks first in the country.

Coffeehouses in Shanghai's Pudong New Area receive more orders than their counterparts in the other 15 districts of the city throughout the day as well as at night, the data shows.

"A latte, please."

Among the top five most well-received coffee beverages in Shanghai, three are different types of latte.

Data from Meituan indicated that raw coconut latte is the most popular choice of takeout coffee among citizens in Shanghai, with the two types following it being latte and extra Americano.

"She" drinks more coffee than "he" does

In Shanghai, female citizens enjoy coffee more than males. Data shows that more than 65 percent of the orders for takeout coffee received by coffeehouses in Shanghai come from female consumers.

People aged between 25 and 30 place 25.7 percent of the orders for takeout coffee in Shanghai, representing the predominant group of coffee drinkers of the city, according to Meituan, which disclosed that the proportion of people under the age of 20 and people between the ages of 20 and 25 who consume takeout coffee are 3.2 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.

More than 96 percent of takeout coffee drinkers aged between 25 and 30 in Shanghai are office workers, according to data from Meituan.

"I used to think they must be joking when some netizens say their blood vessels are filled with iced Americano and refer to coffee as the 'life-giving drink' for people who need to clock in by 8 a.m. Since I entered the workplace myself, I've realized how coffee is increasingly important to my daily life," said a female lawyer surnamed Zhang, who works in Shanghai's financial district Lujiazui.

"Here's your takeout coffee"

Besides enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee at a coffeehouse, ordering takeout coffee online has become a popular choice for more coffee drinkers in Shanghai, where people live a fast-paced life.

Data from Meituan indicated that the numbers of online orders for takeout coffee and online searches for coffee products in Shanghai surged 101.9 percent and 78.1 percent, respectively, year on year during January and February this year.

The data suggests that people in Shanghai have varying preferences for their coffee. For example, a consumer repeated "no ice" 25 times in a message for coffeehouse regarding an online order for takeout coffee, while another consumer requested an extra cup of ice cubes for his (her) takeout coffee ordered online.

Coffee drinkers in Shanghai often have clear and specific requirements for their coffee. Information provided by Meituan shows a total of 78,919 consumers typed more than 40 characters in their messages for coffeehouses regarding takeout coffee orders during the Shanghai Coffee Culture Week.

Orders for takeout coffee are placed with mobile phones by people in Shanghai every hour of the day.

The number of orders for takeout coffee in the city starts to climb between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. every morning and reaches its first peak, which is also the peak of the day, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to data from Meituan.

The second peak of takeout coffee orders comes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., as most citizens prefer to begin studying or working in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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