Asia posted the largest growth in e-commerce worldwide last year and the region’s appetite for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) shows no sign of diminishing, a market research firm said.
The region has for the past decade led the way in adopting online FMCG shopping, Kantar Worldpanel said in its fourth annual “Future of E-commerce in FMCG” report.
“As a continent, Asia achieved the biggest increase in e-commerce globally in 2017, with 44 percent growth,” it said.
E-commerce now contributes to a record 36% of global FMCG growth and the top six contributors are led by China and South Korea.
In China, FMCG e-commerce value rose by 52 percent last year and more online purchases were made in the country than anywhere else in the world.
South Korea followed with 41 percent growth.
Other strong contributors were the United Kingdom, which recorded an 8-percent increase in 2016, France with 7 percent and Japan and the United States with 5 percent each.
The online grocery sector is also expanding into new markets, the report noted, with significant value growth in the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand (104 percent), Malaysia (88 percent) and Vietnam (69 percent) where e-commerce is in its early stages.
“A continent of tech-savvy consumers and avant-garde retailers like Alibaba has made Asia a natural home for e-commerce growth,” the report said.
The world’s largest megacities have also become natural breeding grounds for ecommerce, it said, holding a “much larger share of the online grocery market than smaller towns and cities, or rural areas.”
In Asia these megacities include Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Taipei where young families with children are the consistent buyers.
Individual shopping is also prevalent in the region “due to the higher presence of personal care products in the online basket,” said the report.
In emerging markets, e-commerce is more popular with young upper-class consumers.
The report noted that personal care and baby care products continue to dominate the online basket, particularly in Asia.
“Around the world, young and time-strapped families are increasingly seeking convenience when it comes to repeat purchases of everyday household essentials,” it said.
Looking ahead, Kantar Worldpanel projected that online FMCG would be a $170-billion business by 2025 with a 10 percent total market share, up from 4.6 percent in 2016.
“South Korea and China will continue to lead the way, and Asia in general will remain at the cutting edge of online adoption,” it said.