BEIJING/LONDON: Despite global stock market jitters about the state of the Chinese economy, grocery sales in the country are forecast to increase by a third between now and 2020, according to a new industry report.
With sales of $1,119bn in 2015, China is already the largest grocery market in the world, but rapid development in medium tier cities will drive sales up to $1,491bn in five years' time, the UK-based Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) has said.
China's rapid adoption of smartphones and other devices will also drive "explosive growth" in online grocery shopping, which the IGD expected will triple in size by 2020.
IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said these developments in China will offer many more opportunities for retailers and Western brands.
"China will maintain its position as the world's biggest grocery market for the foreseeable future," she said. "Although the Chinese growth rate is slowing, it's still very impressive, particularly in tier three and four cities."
India and some other Asian countries are also expected to record rapid growth over the next five years, again supported by their expanding populations and the growth of online shopping options.
The grocery sector in India is forecast to increase by 79% to $901bn in 2020, by which date Indonesia's grocery market is expected to be worth $351bn, or nearly as much as the UK's ($352bn).
The Philippines is expected to record 60% growth to $160bn, but growth will be much lower in the mature Japanese market which is expected to grow by only 6% over the next five years to $485bn.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is forecast to generate the fastest growth of the 15 largest markets covered in the report, with grocery sales expected to increase by 85% to $306bn.
By 2020, the US will remain the second largest grocery market in the world with sales of $1,305bn, the report predicted, but its growth rate of 21% will be lower than in China, India and many other emerging markets.
Data sourced from IGD; additional content by Warc staff