Shortly after the release of the financial report, Meituan, a Beijing-based e-commerce platform for life services, began to accelerate its efforts. On March 27, Meituan announced that it would introduce several marketing tools for its food delivery business.
In 2022, Meituan‘s revenue reached 219.95 billion yuan ($31 billion), marking a year-on-year increase of 22.8%. However, the company incurred a net loss of 6.69 billion yuan during the same period, although it managed to achieve an adjusted net profit of 2.83 billion yuan.
Over the past three years, the catering industry has undergone significant changes due to various factors that have impacted consumption habits in this sector. Wang Puzhong, who serves as Meituan‘s senior vice president, noted that takeaway services are no longer limited to weekday lunches or young people alone. Meituan‘s data reveals that elderly consumers’ daily order volume increased by over 30% compared with the previous year while children’s meal orders surged by an impressive 300% in 2022.
As the consumer base expands, their demands are becoming more diverse. Wang reported a 7-fold increase in searches for pig’s feet noodles on Meituan during the airing of the Chinese criminal drama “The Knockout”. The introduction of new categories such as hot pot, milk tea, weight-loss meals and Chinese-style hamburgers has resulted in a significant surge in sales volume.
Meituan has decided to enhance its “Service Area” concept based on data and observations. Wang explained that the telecommunications operators use this concept where more service areas mean better and wider coverage. In Meituan‘s case, the “Service Area” refers to clusters of regions covered by their takeaway business in technology. Currently, they have formed 15,000 service areas.
Meituan‘s traditional takeaway page is store-centric, prioritizing efficiency over product exposure. However, this approach has resulted in insufficient visibility for goods. To address this issue, Meituan will introduce a new marketing tool called “Shenqiangshou” that enables merchants to launch limited-time snap-up activities and focus on popular products. Additionally, Meituan is currently testing video and live-streaming product introductions in Shenzhen and plans to roll out the feature nationwide later this year.
Moreover, the “City Must-Have List” for 2023 on Meituan will cover 15 cities nationwide, and the platform will further enrich the supply of “single-person dining” packages.
Douyin’s recent entry into the food delivery market has intensified competition in the local life service industry. Meituan founder, Wang Xing, identifies proximity and instant delivery as two key features of catering and food delivery services that create a relatively high barrier to entry. In terms of consumer numbers, merchant numbers, and distribution networks – all essential components of catering and food delivery services – Meituan holds a strong advantage over its competitors. Even short video platforms lack the strength to challenge Meituan‘s dominance in this sector, said Wang.