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The "stay-at-home economy" and the growth of online grocery in China

May 2020

2020 could be the inflection point that leads to grocery e-commerce becoming mainstream in China. The “stay-at-home economy” disrupted food purchasing and consumption habits, forcing many consumers to do more cooking and eating at home, and to experiment with ordering groceries online.

Conditions are very favourable to online grocery retail in China. Home delivery is affordable and fast, the e-commerce sector is dominant and concentrated, and the retail grocery sector is highly fragmented.

China’s leading e-commerce companies are investing in the retail grocery sector for several reasons: Grocery shoppers make frequent purchases and have a high conversion rate, while demand for groceries is relatively inelastic. E-commerce penetration for grocery products is lower than for other merchandise categories.

As online demand for groceries increases, China’s e-commerce and tech giants will continue making upstream investments to ensure safe and sufficient supplies.

Click on the link below to download the full report. It includes analysis of the current competitive landscape and the favourable conditions for rapid growth of China’s grocery e-commerce sales in 2020. And it looks at upstream areas of China’s food supply chain where investment by the tech industry will continue to bring growth and modernisation.

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Wenjing Cao

Partner, Food Supply and Integrity Services, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (10) 6533 7026

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