How Covid is CHANGING China's IMPORT Fruit Market - The Boom in E-Commerce
20 July 2020
Hema Fruit Section in a Shanghai Store. Hema, owned by Alibaba, is a high end supermarket with a focus on premium products. It is entirely cash free.
Fruitnet’s (www.fruitnet.com) excellent China Webinar on 8 August gave a great insight into how Covid is changing China’s demand for imported fruit and instigating changes in consumer behaviour, some permanently.
Here is my summary:
China’s import fruit market will continue to grow - by 50% to 2025.
Fruit sales online have exploded as people stay indoors - sales up by 200% or more for some large players like jd.com. Supermarkets are also offering internet purchasing and fast home delivery.
Import Wholesale markets volumes are down because consumers have moved to buy cheaper local fruit. Overall, despite the economy rebounding post the Pandemic, consumers still worry about job security and the economic outlook which results in them spending less. Some commentators suggested Wholesale markets need to modernise and introduce modern selling systems and traceability.
Even before Covid consumers had an increasing focus on food safety and health attributes of food. The Virus has accelerated this trend. Zespri’s hugely successful Kiwifruit promotion with jd.com in China really focuses almost exclusively on the Vitamin C attributes of the their fruit.
Traceability of fruit is becoming increasingly important with some supermarkets implementing their own traceability systems and instructing growers how to implement their own on-farm systems.
Marketing of fruit has moved largely to Social Media with Live blogs and key “Social Influencers” increasingly being used to market fruit. A live blogger might report from an orchard during production or give immediate information on health properties of a new fruit. Creating and building a brand has never been more important.