China online groceries market, Omnichannel shopping appetite of the modern consumer

China’s two e-commerce giants are driving the most growth in Asia’s online grocery market according to a new report from international researcher IGD.

Rank Retailer 2018 sales US$m 2023 sales US$m CAGR
1 2747 9754 28.8%
2 Alibaba Group 3041 9517 25.6%
3 Rakuten 2646 5359 15.2%
4 Shinsegae 1143 2688 18.6%
5 Auchan Group 1017 2362 18.4%
6 AEON 1284 1970 8.9%
7 Seven & i 1000 1800 12.5%
8 Lotte Shopping 570 1451 20.5%
9 Amazon 276 1117 32.3%
10 Yonghui 199 1037 39.2%

In China, busy work schedules and long office hours are no stranger to most, and the 996 trend of describing this originated there. 996 basically means working from 9am-9pm, 6 days a week, which is not uncommon for most working in the IT industry.

After yet another long day at the office, could you imagine that bargaining at the wet markets or doing groceries in the overcrowded supermarkets is something you would like to avoid?

Especially since the e-commerce infrastructure, mobile payment technologies and innovative logistics chain allows you to do your groceries at any time you want and get it delivered at your doorstep at any time you want.

There is a sea of choice with the online platforms such as Tmall supermarket, Yihaodian, Dingdong, etc. Or the brick and mortar supermarkets and hypermarkets that provide delivery services as well such as HeMa, City Shop, Carrefour, etc.

Or even the delivery platforms that will get your order at almost any supermarket, hypermarket or convenience stores of your choice such as Elema, Meituan, etc.

Effected by the present Corona virus, many people have been confined to their homes. As a result, the order amount of big online grocery retailers has increased rapidly after Chinese New Year. Most of them have an increase of 200% – 370% compared to the sales before Chinese New Year. The bottleneck of online groceries was relatively high prices and consumers’ weak willingness to purchase groceries online, especially fresh produce. The online consumption spree also reveals some opportunities in this market: cold chain supply and transport capacity.

In the end, developing an interesting O2O offering will be crucial for success as Chinese consumers are used to be exposed to an omnichannel shopping experience. Retailers need to think about building or acquiring the necessary capabilities (ie. through licensing or partnering) to cope with these trends.

If you would like to know more about related news and developments, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Dr2 Consultants Shanghai by emailing