March recovery softens downturn in China FMCG sales

Ding Yining
Sales of daily household goods dropped 6.7 percent in the first quarter, easing from an 8 percent decline in the first two months as business activity is gradually resuming. 
Ding Yining
March recovery softens downturn in China FMCG sales
Ding Yining / SHINE

Total spending on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in China showed signs of recovery in March as business activity is gradually resuming. 

In the first quarter, FMCG sales (excluding fresh food) dropped 6.7 percent, easing from an 8 percent decline in the first two months, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel. 

Sales at hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores were down 3.7 percent due to loss of foot traffic during the quarter, while smaller supermarkets posted 13.5 percent gains as shoppers turned to community vendors instead of large retailers.

Despite a temporary disruption of delivery capacity, sales through online channels recorded a 22 percent annual increase, accounting for 19 percent of total FMCG spending during the period. 

As many as 62.6 percent of Chinese households purchased from digital channels amid an increase in new adopters in lower-tier cities. Alibaba captured most of the new buyers, followed by JD. 

More than one-third of families purchased food from online to offline sites at least once from retailers' own sites or third-party providers. 

Sun Art Group, which operates RT Mart and Auchan hypermarkets, managed to keep its leading position with an 8.3 percent market share, thanks to its own online platform and collaboration with Taobao's fresh food delivery service. 

Yonghui posted the biggest gain in terms of market share, from 4.2 percent to 4.8 percent with its strong presence in community neighborhoods. 

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