What is fun about shopping?

"What is fun about shopping?" These words first came out of the mouth of Chinese men as a complaint about women's shopping desire. 10 years ago, women might say that the street was full a variety of shops for clothing, jewelry, foods and fruits, and therefore they would never feel satisfied with shopping with their friends. Is shopping still interesting now? No one can give a clear answer, for the number of shoppers is decreasing. 

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Most of traditional Chinese streets play a role in providing a broad space for the life of people, who can buy their groceries, have access to the latest trend, and socialize. The convenient and efficient online shopping, however, has eliminated the competitiveness of offline vendors with storefronts. In the meantime, the urban construction pattern of the "solar system" is a determinant that people enjoy pursuing for the prosperous city center and that large-scale commercial buildings are favored in this era. Therefore, the larger number of commercial buildings will reduce the survivability of the street-side shops. According to the survey from YiMagazine, the pure retail-based streets have faced constriction in the market, and even in Guangzhou with a high density of shops along streets, there are only 26% of retail-featured commercial streets. That is to say, the streets' function of shopping has been greatly weakened. 

How can street attract people of today? With the increasing demands for catering industry year by year, a number of commercial streets have witnessed growth after self-transformation into a gourmet street. Cafes, bookstores and art galleries with a strong cultural and leisure style have become popular shops on social media, attracting waves of visitors. 


The establishment of such kind of shops seems to be a quick way to reap the benefits. However, some media query whether these shops can play a public role in revitalizing the community. If they are just parasites without the publicness, they may fail to survive for a long time, because those fickle in their affection will get bored and head for the next popular shop. The check-in in an popular shop is totally different from the traditional shopping. Overall, people have less dependence upon the streets. But fortunately, numerous teams and individuals turn their attention to the inter-growth between such popular shops and streets, to explore the possibilities of integration with the needs of the community. 

Jane Jacobs, a well-known urban planner, has said, "Think of a city and what comes to mind? Its streets. If a city's streets look interesting, the city looks interesting; if they look dull, the city looks dull." The streets therefore govern the course of a city. Is there a template for an ideal street in the future? Paris, New York and Tokyo boast many praiseworthy streets or blocks with their own characteristics. Imitation is definitely not the path to build a Chinese-style street. We are looking forward to a traditional and fashionable Chinese street with art exchange and commercial opportunities after introspection, exploration and innovation. 

YiMagazine: About 60% of streets in Beijing and Shanghai are kept alive by catering industry, which is indeed a commercial form that our generation finds worthwhile even if it involves long journeys and long wait-in-line in the city. A majority of online-popular shops, which attract much attention of business administrations, are also engaged in catering business.

New Weekly: Globally speaking, these unique shops show a similar law of development. The arrival of a popular cafe predicts the visits of crowds. Then, there will be bars, restaurants, galleries, studios, and a variety of consumer goods with cultural capital for the youth. And finally, after the developers see the value potential of the location, the rents will see a seemingly reasonable increase.

(Source: Sanlian Life Weekly, YiMagazine and New Weekly)


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