Biz / Tech

Online grocery orders surge amid outbreak

Ding Yining Wang Xinzhou
Deliveries of fresh food and daily necessities have boomed in Shanghai as people turn home-bound.
Ding Yining Wang Xinzhou
Edited by Wang Xinzhou. Subtitles by Andy Boreham.

Online delivery platforms have mobilized to fulfill an explosion in fresh food and household item orders from local residents, who are advised to better stay at home amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

Alibaba's fresh food vendor Freshippo said it has prepared 250 tons of packaged vegetables and 80 tons of bulk vegetables for nearly 50 stores in Shanghai on Thursday, which is six times above normal volume. 

It also plans to bring an additional 100 tons of vegetables everyday from farms in Shandong, Yunnan and Fujian provinces, said Huang Yifan, who is in charge of vegetable procurement for Freshippo in Shanghai. 

Since Chinese New Year's Eve, vegetable supplies at Freshippo have grown more than 50 percent from normal working days. 

Shoppers are also buying more in each order to reduce contact with delivery staff.

Wu Lian, an Eleme delivery driver and Hubei native, told Shanghai Daily that a normal supermarket order weighs less than 5 kilograms, but now local residents want to buy more staples and drinks and sometimes a single delivery can weigh 10 to 15 kilograms.

Wu said he's also doing fewer restaurant takeaway orders these days, and waiting longer for supermarkets to prepare delivery orders.

Meanwhile, Li Minmei, who is in charge of online delivery at Walmart's outlet in the Lingyun neighborhood of Xuhui District, has been working 15 hours per day amidst a boom in orders for daily necessities and fresh food. 

The number of orders from JD Daojia, which handles Walmart's delivery business, has jumped six times from a year earlier, said Li, and average spending is 10 times higher than normal.

On-demand delivery platform Dada JD Daojia, which handles online orders for supermarkets and grocery stores, said its sales volume jumped more than five-fold in the first four days of the Chinese New Year holiday (from January 24 to January 27) from a year earlier as consumers turn to online delivery for fresh food, staples and frozen items.

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