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Top 10 China supermarkets based on sales for 2021

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Hello and greetings from Shunyi for Thursday January 20th. We know supermarkets are one of the key entry ways for FMG / F&B in China and there is always a lot of interest in this. So lets take a look at the top brands for 2021.

Back in June 2020, ( was it really so long ago!) we ran a short article on the Top 10 China supermarkets based on sales for 2019. But a lot has changed since then.

As in 2020 we are primarily drawing on secondary data provided by an article from China Daily – which is in no way an indepth analysis. Just an image gallery of the top 10. So it is a very simple, shallow overview of the situation. However, a quick comparison with 2019 will show some have risen and some fallen.

We said, above, a lot has happened since then, not the least, Covid and the impact it has had on society and peoples lives and habits generally. For example, 2020 show people shift from commuting to B&M offices to working online, via zoom etal. Likewise, many people abandoned physical supermarkets and close proximity to others and adopted an on line supermarket shopping regime. We at aim2D were among them.

During the 2019 to 2020 period there was some seismic movement in the industry as many western brands merged or retreated from the market. We mentioned in our last years spot that Carrefour had been taken over by the Suning Electric group, which soon after found itself in financial difficulty, Interestingly, it has not moved from 8th spot. The other French chain, Auchan merged with RT to debut at pole position. whilst the German Metro merged with Wumart and rose 4 placings.

2020 also saw central Gvt wage war on “Big Tech” in particular their non competitive actives and use / abuse of APP generated personal data. Alibaba founder, Jack MA and his new financial venture, ANT, fell foul of the regulators and had its wings clipped. This may account for Fresh Hippos total no show in the current top 10. yet they figured strongly in past surveys. Other big tech firms, for example Tencent merged with or took stakes in the top players. This became evident during the early stages of 2020 when the likes of Yonhui (YH – deployed cutting edge facial recognition cams at store entry ways.

APPS APPS Millions of APPS

The advent of Covid coupled with the tech investment saw most of the big players pushing their shopping APPS. Later 2021 we also saw the rise of “Virtual” supermarkets, those operating without a store front, offering a trimmed back selection but at better prices. Currently we alternate between 3 different APP’s, as each one offers differing special or promotions. So, whereas once it was both time and petrol consuming to drive to two or three supermarkets to claim their weekly savings, now it’s is just a thumbs twist away. Customers can select the best prices form several apps whilst sitting / standing on the subway during their commute home knowing that when they arrive home, their groceries will be not too far behind. They may even be in the locker waiting for them. A quick scan of the QR code, et voila, let’s get cooking.

So whilst the official figure showed an increase in the top 100 supermarkets of around 7% over 2020, we don’t know how many other small, agile, “Virtual” players entered the game nationally. Holding up the top two end of the figures, the new RT Auchan group saw sales increase circa 10 billion since 2019, Yonghui grew by a similar amount. However, at the bottom end Hyper-mart basically stood still. Carrefour on the other hand, dropped some 7 billion in sales. At position 8, chances are good that they may not make it into the top ten next year.

Ok, there we have it. A “snapshot” of the general position of supermarket brands in China for 2021. Clearly insufficient to build a marketing strategy on but a good starting point to go forward from. Looking for more, or a greater, indepth primary research on your sector? Drop us a line and we can chat. Finally, the link to China Daily’s updated 2021 article: Top 10 supermarkets in China by sales.

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