“In trying to understand just how rapidly the modern grocery sector has grown in China, it has to be realised that all of the approximately 45,000 supermarkets and hypermarkets that now exist in China have appeared within a single generation, or less than 25 years. China is now the world’s second-largest economy, its domestic consumer economy is growing in importance within the overall economy, it is growing fast, and it is increasingly controlled by large retail chain store businesses, of which supermarkets and hypermarkets are among the most powerful. It is therefore hard to understate the significance of this sector and the companies that are coming to dominate it.

Yet the rush to penetrate wider territorial coverage, along with deeper penetration of more developed regional markets, continues. Competing retail chains are increasingly vying to beat their opposition into new regions where consumer income growth is creating new market entry opportunities, and this is driving greater innovation of formats, products and services offerings to adapt to the specific market needs in each regional market.

That innovation is leading to the rapid adoption in the use of new technologies to create greater consumer convenience, while massive investment in the supply logistics is also needed to keep up with demand, and to keep quality high and prices low. It is in these key areas that the competitors in the market continue to need to focus in order to remain ahead of the game.”

In this report we answer the key questions:

  • How fast has the market grown, is it still growing fast and where is the growth heading now?

  • How are rising incomes affecting retail consumption patterns in different regions of China?

  • How is the modern grocery sector developing its retail format to suit the changing China market?

  • Which retail brands are proving the most successful, and what is it about them that consumers like?

  • How important are non-retail services in building consumer footfall and loyalty?

  • How fast has online grocery retail grown, is it still growing fast, and will it continue to do so?

Definition

Included in this report:

  • Supermarkets: Modern chain grocery (food and non-food) retail outlets with sales areas of between 300m2 and 5,999m2.

  • Hypermarkets: Modern chain grocery (food and non-food) retail outlets with sales areas of 6,000m2 and above.

  • Discount stores: Modern chain grocery (food and non-food) retail outlets of a size equivalent to supermarkets that specialise in discount-priced products.

  • Warehouse stores: Modern chain grocery (food and non-food) retail outlets that require shoppers to become members and hold a membership card before they can use the store – usually, but not exclusively, for business owners.

  • Modern grocery: Includes all of the above plus convenience stores (included only in comparison against the core market), which are defined as being modern chain grocery (food and non-food) retail outlets with sales areas of less than 300m2.

  • Online grocery: Online retail businesses that sell both food and non-food products.

Provinces of China

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