Deep Dive 11 minutes Premium

Understanding Fresh Food E-Commerce in China

Executive Summary

Chinese consumers are buying more and more online, and fresh food has become a new category they increasingly look for.

  • The gross merchandise volume (GMV) of China’s fresh food e-commerce market is expected to increase 160% to ¥162.0 billion in 2019 from ¥62.2 billion in 2016, according to iiMedia.
  • Most fresh food e-commerce shoppers are millennials—those born in the 1980s and 1990s. Convenience and time-saving are key factors driving consumers to buy fresh food online.
  • There are three primary types of fresh food e-commerce operations in China: vertical fresh food e-commerce specialists, comprehensive e-commerce platforms and online-to-offline (O2O).
  • Due to the perishable nature of fresh food, the category requires hefty investments to build the cold chain logistics needed to complete last-mile delivery. Consumers’ expectation of fast delivery and the heavy investment required are key challenges for fresh food e-commerce operators.

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