Global online sales of FMCG products is growing four times faster than offline sales, with Asia setting the pace for growth in the coming years in online FMCG sales, according to a new report by global measurement company, Nielsen.
The Nielsen Future Opportunities in FMCG E-commerce Report, which examines the current growth drivers of FMCG e-commerce in 34 markets, highlights the rapid pace at which FMCG e-commerce will grow over the coming years (18.4% CAGR annually) and estimates total global sales will reach as high as US$400 billion by 2022.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to provide some of the biggest growth opportunities for online FMCG over the next five years, with 43% of the region’s consumers already using e-commerce platforms for home delivery of products, and a further 15% indicating better internet connectivity would increase their propensity to shop online. South Korea is leading the way in e-commerce globally, with nearly one-fifth (18%) of all FMCG sold via online channels, closely followed by China (16% of FMCG sold online). Taiwan, Japan and Australia also rank in the top five markets for share of FMCG sales online (5.6%, 5%, and 3% respectively). Other Asia Pacific markets covered in the report include India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand.
According to Nielsen eRetail Measurement Service which tracks key online retailers’ sales data, 60 FMCG categories online sales reached 18% growth while offline sales growth rate is 2% in 2017. Health Food, with its 31% online sales share and 15% growth rate, outperformed across food related categories online. Paper related categories, such as Baby Diaper, Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes are also online “star” categories, with double digit performance in both online sales share and growth rate.
“Competition in FMCG market is ever so fierce in Taiwan, thus manufacturers and retailers are to focus on two key ecommerce tactics: frequency and conversion. The high rotation of fresh food is a key driver to attract different shopper sets and increase shopping frequency — this strategy has been practiced by both US and China markets,” suggested by Terri Kang, director, Ecommerce vertical, Nielsen Taiwan. “True convenience, helping shoppers to save time, creates good reason for consumers to come back and buy more. Therefore optimizing the online assortment, at the same time offering the needed product information, and conveying strong messages on quality are ways to win the hearts of savvy online shoppers.”
The Nielsen report identifies some of the key future drivers of FMCG e-commerce growth, including:
- Foundational growth drivers: market size, bank account penetration, internet penetration, smartphone penetration
- Macro-economic growth drivers: ease of doing business, population density, postal reliability
- Social growth drivers: trust, savings culture
- Supply growth drivers: maturity of FMCG e-commerce players
The emergence of new e-commerce players is creating an increasingly competitive retail landscape in Asia Pacific. High quality infrastructure and technology innovation support further e-commerce adoption for consumers in Japan (24%) who are purchasing FMCG online for home delivery. Nielsen estimates that Japan’s 2017 e-commerce share of total FMCG sales (5%) will increase to 7.9% (US$36 billion) by 2022.
Taiwan region has strong technology and internet access for consumers, along with geographical proximity to Mainland China and South Korea, markets leading in FMCG e-commerce. Nielsen estimates that Taiwanmarket’s 2017 e-commerce share of total FMCG sales (5.6%) will increase to 8.1% (US$878 million) by 2022.
Meanwhile, in other markets around the Asia Pacific region, Australian shoppers (38%) already use e-commerce for OTC medicines and health-care products. Nielsen estimates that Australia’s 2017 e-commerce share of total FMCG sales (3%) will increase to 4.8% (US$ 3.5 billion) by 2022.
“Many consumers across Asia Pacific have experienced online shopping in some form, be it travel, apparel, electronics or other similar categories,” notes Ji Hyuk Park, Nielsen’s Developed Markets Digital Retail Lead. “Developing markets across the region hold much promise for rapid FMCG e-commerce growth in the coming years as consumers make the leap from traditional trade to online marketplace, making the need for omni-channel offerings more critical than ever for FMCG retailers.”