BEIJING: The twelve weeks ending 23rd February saw significant increases in FMCG spend in China, thanks to Chinese New Year, with local retail and e-commerce seeing the biggest year-on-year changes.
This is according to Kantar Worldpanel, which released its latest figures for the period spanning the new year in China.
Local retailers, and Yonghui Superstores in particular, profited from the holiday. Compared to last year, the firm achieved a sales growth of 21.7%, attracting 10% of urban families in the period.
The bigger story is the convergence of big ecommerce players with local brick-and-mortar stores. Both of the stores that Kantar identifies as winners over the holiday period have recently seen large investment from the country’s online players. Though relatively small, in December, Yonghui received an investment from Tencent of around US$636m, according to Reuters, in return for a 5% stake in the business.
Meanwhile Tencent’s hand is also detectable in the success of Better Life (Bubugao), which grew by 45.2% according to Kantar. In February, reports surfaced that both Tencent and ecommerce firm JD.com (in which Tencent bought a 15% stake in 2014) would both invest heavily in the retail chain.
With almost 600 stores concentrated in the South West of China, Bubugao provided the Tencent, JD partnership with a solid retail footprint with which to take on rival Alibaba’s He Ma physical stores, which had a slight head start, according to Forbes. Key to the race, however, is the tech layer that powers these stores, which Tencent hopes will help retailers to do more online.
In pursuit of convenience, Bubugao has announced a plan to connect as many as 200 offline stores to JD.com’s infrastructure.
In such a climate, the growth of ecommerce around this years’ CNY celebrations stands to reason. In the last 12 months, the channel grew by as much as 29.3% with JD.com leading the growth. Richard Liu’s ecommerce behemoth has achieved a 12.6% share of the country’s total ecommerce, Kantar finds.
New growth also emerged from fresh foods. Both Alibaba’s Hema Fresh and JD.com’s 7Fresh thrived in the holiday season, with their app-enabled shopping experiences and in-store catering.
Sourced from Kantar Worldpanel, Reuters, Forbes; additional content by WARC staff