Focus analysis | "Exquisite camping" overwhelmed the limelight of picnics, but this business is not easy to do

Focus analysis | “Exquisite camping” overwhelmed the limelight of picnics, but this business is not easy to do

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Author | Yuan Silai

Editor | Dong Jie

In 2021, picnics are over, and camping has become a new trend.

On May 5, Xiaohongshu released a travel report on the May Day holiday. The report shows that in the first three days of May 1st this year, searches for “camping” on Xiaohongshu increased by 230% over the same period last year.

In these camping notes, it is easy to see a new word: Glamping. It comes from “glamourous camping”, which means exquisite camping and style camping. Different from the past “camping” where you sleep in tents and wear jackets, style camping focuses on comfort, and more is about enjoying life leisurely in nature. You can bring your own tent, or go directly to a tent or log cabin style hotel.

Glamping was popular in the UK more than 10 years ago, spread to the United States, and later moved east to Japan, and now it has become a new way of life for the domestic middle class.

On Xiaohongshu, you will find hundreds of notes when you search for camping. Glampings have similar compositions, similar tents, similar dimming, and of course similar equipment.

Glamping notes on the little red book

Some niche outdoor brands suddenly ceased to be niche. Danish nordisk, American Chums, and Japanese Snow Peak appeared in various lists, kupilka wooden cup, Kermit folding chair, coleman steam lamp, Aladdin heater, stelton kerosene lamp, Marshall sound, and hazy Small yellow lights dotted the different photos. Some equipments are expensive. Snow Peak’s highly visible white tent costs more than 10,000, the limited edition titanium cup costs 700, and the genuine Kermit folding chair costs more than 1,000.
 

Although the notes and the edited photos are lively, young Glamping is not a good business.

How did Glamping become popular?

Compared with camping in a tree house where only one or two people can live, or camping in a pure RV that requires additional equipment, Glamping has social attributes and does not have too high a threshold.

Camping has always been a niche hobby in China. After the epidemic, it has become an alternative to overseas travel. Tmall consumption insights show that in March last year, camping consumption increased by more than 200% year-on-year, and Ctrip data shows that in 2020, the number of family camping orders in the Yangtze River Delta area increased by 206% compared with the same period in 2019.

But the fuse that allowed Glamping to enter the public eye was Xiaohongshu. An interesting case is that more than 70% of the orders for the camping startup Da Hot Wilderness, which only opened its doors at the end of last year, came from Xiaohongshu.

In fact, Glamping has been popular overseas for many years. In 2005, the word first appeared in the British mass media, and it was included in the Oxford dictionary the following year. At that time, many campers began to enjoy outdoor WiFi and heated mattresses.

After the United States had a car, there was camping, and World War II was even more popular throughout the country. Going out of reinforced concrete to get close to nature in the wild has become a standard for urbanites. Only from the abundance of campsites can tell their enthusiasm: campers can go to private camps of the association, or to federal camps such as national parks and forest parks. Glamping enthusiasts will build various forms of canopy, including yurt-shaped arched tents, Indian-style cone tents, and ecological huts shaped like Eskimo igloos.

However, Japan has brought the exquisiteness and style of Glamping into full play. It was not until 2015 that the concept of Glamping reached Japan. Related products quickly appeared on the market. Hoshino, a tactile resort group, launched the country’s first Glamping-concept hotel HOSHINOYA Fuji in the same year. Facing Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, this hotel is surrounded by dense forests and is only more than 100 kilometers away from Tokyo. The living experience is similar to Glamping.

In fact, Glamping is not a strange new phenomenon. For people who are used to camping, this is just another way of camping. In Booking’s 2020 recommendation of Japan’s top ten campsites, there are both ordinary RV sites and resorts of various styles.

Glamping first flourished overseas, which is related to their well-developed camping culture. In the year Glamping appeared, there were 4.4 million camping trips in the UK, and 43% of them were young and middle-aged 16-34 years old.

“Camping” has been immersed in the capillaries of life. In 2016, the number of people participating in camping in the United States reached 40.5 million, accounting for 13.7% of the total population over 6 years old.

As early as 1926, the Japan Agency and the Travel Culture Association issued a guide-“Methods and Places for Camping”. In 1965, Japan established the Camping Association, and the number of people driving out to camp is increasing. In the 1990s, it exceeded 15 million.

With a well-developed camping culture, different styles of camping will naturally appear. However, in China, the concept of camping has been in use for less than 10 years, and it is more camping for outdoor sports by travel friends, and Glamping is even more of a niche among the niche. Glamping, which started to heat up at this time, actually satisfies more of its social attributes.

After the wind

With the popularity of Glamping, the camping industry is also quietly developing.

In fact, there is no shortage of equipment manufacturers in China. Well-known outdoor brands like MU Gaodi have also followed suit and launched Glamping-style white tents, which have become the choice of many campers. Taking advantage of the east wind, they have pulled a wave of stock prices.

In fact, the workmanship of domestic brands is not bad, but at present, domestic manufacturers have not formed a strong brand style, and it is even more difficult to lead the culture. For the expensive Snow Peak, in addition to outdoor equipment, they began to make clothing in 2014. The concept of “urban outdoor” (urban outdoor) that they put forward actually led to a new style of dressing. However, domestic manufacturers are more oriented towards product sales and have not formed a brand culture.

Perhaps it is not the equipment that bothers campers more, but the lack of sufficient mature venues in the country.

If you look at the number, domestic campsites are not really rich. According to the “Camping and Trailer Club” in the UK, as early as 2005, there were 3,500 registered campsites in the UK. In 2020, the total number of campsites in Japan is 2,107. However, the China Commercial Industry Research Institute released the “2018 China RV Camping Market Research Report” report, showing that there are only 1,273 campsites nationwide.

One of the signs of maturity is to see whether the classification is sufficiently detailed. Japan has differentiated camps with various themed styles, such as the Starry Sky Forest Camping Village near Tokyo, where the starry sky is sold, and the beach-themed WILDBEACH SEASIDE GLAMPING PARK. These camps are complete with public restrooms, restaurants, guest rooms, and BBQs. Some also have large-scale entertainment equipment such as racing cars. But in China, it is even difficult for many Beijing campers to find campfires and mosquito-free camps nearby.

A complete camp requires a large-scale transformation of the infrastructure. In Japan, there is a camp management model in which the central government provides 30% of the funds, the local government deducts 40% of the land costs, and the enterprise only needs to pay 40% of the money. However, most of them are still privately operated in China. Many of them still rent hotels and scenic spots, unable to renovate by themselves, and the rental cost remains high.In an interview with “Wall Street Insights,” Zhu Xian, the founder of Hot Wilderness, said that the investment in a camp is more than one million a year, including labor costs.

These entrepreneurs dare not invest heavily, and capital is obviously waiting to see: After this gust of wind blows, can camping really become a way of life? Perhaps the answer is not so optimistic. Zhu Xian analyzed that their camps are all in first-tier cities because young people are more interested in novel experiences.

“A lot of people just want to cut a wave of leeks.” Looking at the camps that are now opening one after another, he concludes. Glamping relies on the rise of Xiaohongshu, and there will always be new trends on Xiaohongshu, just as the picnic has begun to show fatigue, how long can this Glamping last?

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