Mobile orders for a broad range of lifestyle services boomed in Q4 last year, extending well into this quarter’s pandemic opportunities.

In the final quarter of 2019, the Chinese mobile payments market grew to RMB 59.8 trillion (S$12 trillion), representing a year-on-year increase of 13.4%, according to a recent report.

This indicates the Chinese mobile payment market had matured due to the high penetration rate of mobile payments in a variety of use cases—insofar as the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak in late December were not concerned.

Other findings by the by independent market research firm, iResearch include;

  • Alipay and TenPay (WeChat Pay + QQ Wallet) maintained market dominance
    • By transaction volume, Alipay’s market share had increased over the four consecutive quarters of 2019, reaching 55.1% in Q4
    • TenPay (WeChat Pay + QQ Wallet) dropped below 39% for the first time in 2019 to 38.9%
    • The rest of the players continued to explore the niche markets which accounted for 6% of the overall mobile payment market in China in Q4 2019. They include d1qianbao (1.4%), JD Pay (0.9%), UMPay (0.6%), 99bill (0.6%), Yeepay (0.5%), China UMS (0.3%), Sunin Pay (0.2%) and others (1.5%)

Consumer demand for digital lifestyle services had been expanding rapidly. In 2019 alone, the number of searches for lifestyle services within the Alipay app increased by 300% compared with the previous year.

Digital demand has grown for lifestyle services:

  • Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Beijing-based grocery startup Meicai, which connects farmers with consumers and restaurants, launched a mini program to make its delivery services available to Alipay users. Within one week, the mini program attracted more than 800,000 new users and saw orders pour in from across 80 cities in China
  • An increasing number of milk tea shops are digitalizing their operations following the COVID-19 outbreak. From 18 to 22 March, consumers purchased an average of over 1.08 million cups of milk tea every day via brands’ mini programs on Alipay
  • Movie theaters are also exploring innovative ways of digitalizing their operations, including promoting presale movie tickets via Alipay
    • On 18 March, 10 cinema chains migrated offline ticket offices across 400 cinema locations to the Alipay platform and launched a dedicated presale ticket campaign together with Alipay and Taobao Movie. By 26 March, the number of presale movie tickets sold increased by over 2,000% compared to the week before 18 March

The 2019 Q4 Chinese Mobile Payment Market report, in Chinese, can be accessed via the iResearch website.