Friday, 2023 September 29

Ride-hailing and food delivery plummet due to coronavirus, while online grocery shopping sees uptick

While more people in China are opting to buy groceries online, the demand for food delivery and ride-hailing services dropped sharply during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest report by QuestMobile.

The report found that daily active users (DAUs) of online on-demand services have declined more than 50%, from 70 million before the Chinese New Year (CNY) to less than 40 million as of February 4, while the ride-hailing sector also saw its DAU decrease from 160 million to 71 million during the same period.

Food-delivery giant Meituan Dianping, for example, saw the DAU of its main app, Meituan, drop from 60 million before the outbreak to less than 30 million.

On the other hand, figures indicate that the crisis may have increased the popularity of online grocery shopping. The ratio of Meituan’s users who regularly use the app for grocery or medicine delivery increased to 11% in late February, from just 1.7% reported in January, as people went online to buy fresh food such as vegetables, fruit, and milk.

Companies including Meituan,, and Alibaba have all rolled “contactless” delivery services to ease people’s anxiety about the spread of the virus.

Apps and online videos featuring food tutorials have gained users as well—recipe app Xiachufang, for example, attracted 236,000 more users over Chinese New Year.

The report also cited other online services that have seen more users in light of the outbreak. Mini programs and WeChat official accounts run by municipal governments that serve residents’ needs online saw an uptick. WeChat mini program City Service, which allows users to book doctor appointments, check tax and social insurance status, and pay utilities, hit a DAU of 5.5 million during the Chinese New Year period.

Wency Chen
Wency Chen
Wency Chen is a reporter KrASIA based in Beijing, covering tech innovations in&beyond the Greater China Area. Previously, she studied at Columbia Journalism School and reported on art exhibits, New York public school systems, LGBTQ+ rights, and Asian immigrants. She is also an enthusiastic reader, a diehard fan of indie rock and spicy hot pot, as well as a to-be filmmaker (Let’s see).

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