What’s the future for online in Asia?

Date : 03 August 2018

Online is one of the world’s fastest-growing grocery channels. But what does it look like in Asia, and who are the retailers to watch? Shirley, our programme director at IGD Asia, highlights some of the trends.

There’s a global revolution taking place in grocery retail

And we’ve identified three critical battlegrounds. Will they favour a larger store or a small convenience shop? Will they buy food-to-go or eat later at home? Will shoppers use a physical store or buy online?

Asia is a world-leader in online grocery

China is the world’s largest online grocery market; it’s about three times as big as the US market. We forecast it will grow 286% to 2022. This means 11% of grocery sales in China will come from online, up from 3.8% currently.

Omnichannel is the biggest trend right now

Shoppers want more than convenience. Both retailers and suppliers will have to provide more information, help shoppers find and pay for products, and introduce more personalisation. To win, you’ll need to create a frictionless online and offline experience. 

Asia leads the way in mobile commerce and social marketing. We believe shoppers in Europe and North America will follow, increasingly buying online through mobile devices. 

Singapore’s a hub for innovative stores

There’s still a role for physical stores, but they need to understand shoppers’ needs, values and choices. We’re seeing lots of changes in Singapore as retailers try harder to engage – and entertain – shoppers.

NTUC FairPrice has developed a mobile app for its SingPost Centre store to help customers find items. The store also has a virtual reality corner to engage shoppers and show them new, exciting products.

Cold Storage opened a cashier-less store in Fusionopolis, using the latest technology. Its features include smart scales and digital news-stands, helping make shopping easy and fun.

Shirley Zhu, Programme Director, IGD Singapore

Shirley Zhu

I’m based in our Singapore office and lead our research programme in south-east Asia.

My role involves strategic planning and supporting our members in the region. I also contribute to our new IGD Asia service. My specialist subjects are regional trends, ecommerce, and FMCG retail in China.

Follow us on Twitter @IGDAsia

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