What will the Year of the Ox deliver for China's online grocery market?

11 feb 2021

Erik Wallin

Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing you good health and lasting prosperity!

Are you seeing in the Year of the Ox in China, the US, the UK or elsewhere? Regardless of your location or nationality, we are all bound by the same considerations. What to eat for dinner, whether it's healthy and how to purchase it safely during the pandemic are questions we all face. These then lead to further questions. Which ingredients do you already have? What's your budget?

We're looking at these today with Chinese grocery shoppers in mind. Like the rest of the world, China has seen an uptick in online grocery shopping. The pandemic has played a key role in this. 84% of Chinese consumers increased their online shopping frequency during it. 

However, the pandemic isn't the only factor. China's population has a growing number of young people. These tech-savvy consumers are helping to drive forward the digitisation of the shopping experience. Mark Rogers, VP of Growth at Northfork, observes:

"For online grocery retailers in China, the growth potential is staggering. China is home to 1.4 billion people, all of whom need to buy groceries. Right now, the retail sector is all about investing in tech, process and innovation. It's about building and maintaining the right experience."

With both internet and smartphone usage in China growing, the opportunities for brands to engage new customers through innovation are increasing too. The experiences they deliver need to be seamless both on and off platform. The Ox is known for its honesty and dependability. Retailers will need to deliver these in abundance as they fight for market share in 2021. They will also need to keep the customer at the heart of the experience they deliver.

China's online grocery market is projected to be worth US$ 219 billion by the end of 2026. It's an exciting time to watch how the market evolves. Global players such as Alibaba and JD.com are currently leading the pack but there's still everything to play for in China's vast online food retail space.