After becoming the world's largest market for online grocery shopping in 2014, Chinese demand for purchasing fresh agricultural products online has continued to grow exponentially with the total value of fresh agricultural products bought online expected to reach US$30 billion in 2018.
According to the "The 2018 China Agricultural Product E-Commerce Development Report" just released by the China Agricultural Product Electronic Commerce Association, 2017 saw China's online market for fresh agricultural products reach a traded value of US$22.08 billion - a 59.7% increase over 2016, once again following the industry's trend of annual growth of over 50% for each year over the past 5 years.
Statistics show that fresh agri-product online consumers are mainly young and well educated hailing from China's first and second tier cities and 43.6% of consumers belong to China's middle class with a monthly income of more than US$1,270.
Fresh, natural and nutritious products are sought after by Chinese online consumers, leading to rapid growth of imported agri-products. As a result of a diverse overseas supply, Chinese consumers can purchase various agri-products from all over the world without leaving home.
Presently, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai and Guangdong are provinces with highest demand for purchasing imported agri-products but new growth markets include Liaoning, Shandong and other areas.
China's huge online demand for fresh produce has helped promote the development of cold chain logistics. Compared with the previous year, the total value of cold chain logistics services for agri-product in China reached US$579.7 billion - an increased of 17.6% and storage space in cold chain warehouse reached 119.37 million m³ - an increase of 13.7%. 19,000 new refrigerated trucks also entered China's logistic industry.
However the rapid growth in the online purchase of fresh agri-products also exposed gaps in the supply of cold chain services. In order to improve service levels, the Chinese government recently issued a number of policy measures, including:
· "Guidelines on Actively Promoting Innovation and Application of Supply Chain"
issued by the State Council of China in October 2017
· "Circular on Deepening Agricultural Cooperation and Developing Agricultural Products Electronic Commerce"
issued by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Ministry of Agriculture of China in September 2017
· "Opinions on Speeding Up the Development of Cold Chain Logistics to Ensure Food Safety and Promote Consumption"
issued by the State Council of China in April 2017
These relevant government departments have emphasized the importance of creating a good business environment, and encouraged enterprises to explore various technologies to break down remaining barriers. Without doubt, e-commerce enterprises working in China will benefit from these preferable policies.
Data source: China Agricultural Product Electronic Commerce Association, iResearch