Disruption and uncertainty: The state of grocery 2022—China

The grocery market in China is the most intriguing in the world: it is huge (second only to the United States), it leads the pack in online commerce, and it’s growing rapidly. It is also a source of inspiration and awe for digital and online-to-offline (commerce). Its grocery market has been disrupted at a speed and frequency that have left traditional players struggling to keep up.

China is not only an incredibly competitive market but also unique in its consumer demographics (middle and upper-middle class) and geographies (city tiers and clusters), the segments in which tech-based entrants will do battle with traditional retail. It is also highly unproductive (lowest sales per square meter in the world), severely fragmented, and primarily regional. These factors have created huge challenges for Chinese grocery retailers in delivering economic profit and higher margins.

In this compendium, we explore China’s grocery market in detail: the emerging trends that will shape the competitive landscape in the coming years, the path to profitability for different retail models, the sweeping impact of changing consumer preferences and technology, and a handful of growth imperatives that could separate the winners from the also-rans.

The compendium’s articles not only shed light on the direction of grocery in China but also provide insights that could be valuable for retailers around the world.

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