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Ecommerce in Belgium worth €8.2 billion in 2019

Ecommerce in Belgium worth €8.2 billion in 2019

Belgium’s online retail sector generated a total turnover of €8.2 billion in 2019 – an increase of 17% compared to 2018. Much of these gains have been made thanks to purchases by foreign consumers, who contributed 25% of the total earnings. The sector spies plenty of opportunities, especially in Germany and with the spread of the fall-out of the coronavirus.

Belgium’s webshops are highly multilingual. The number of transactions was up 22% to 85 million in 2019, with the number of online sellers rising 20% to 29,000. The main foreign market for Belgium’s ecommerce is France (28%), followed by the Netherlands (18%), the United Kingdom (9.5%) and Germany (7.5%).

 
Source: SafeShops/The House of Marketing

 

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Online grocery sales to spike in US

By 2025, the share of online grocery spending could reach 20% of all grocery sales at retail in the US.

Online grocery shopping could account for a fifth of all retail grocery sales in the US by 2025.

That means American consumers would be spending about $100 billion a year buying their groceries (foods, drinks and other CPG products) online – the equivalent of about 3900 grocery stores based on store volume.

These are among the forecasts in a preview of joint research by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen.

In a press release, they said their “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” study shows that within the next decade, online food shopping will reach maturation in the US, “far faster than other industries that have come online before.”

Chris Morley, president of U.S. Buy at Nielsen said the need for retailers and manufacturers to know the differences around how consumers shop online versus in-store is greater than ever before.

Grocery the next big retail sector to be reshaped by digital

Key findings from the research include:

  • About 23% of American households are buying food online today.
  • Of those that will buy online, 60% expect to spend over a quarter of their food dollars online in ten years.
  • Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries have, such as publishing or banking.
  • Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt grocery related digital technologies more quickly and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further.

According to the FMI and Nielsen, the six most important factors for online grocery shoppers are trust, value, experience, assortment, convenience and personalisation.


Images: http://www.fmi.org/digital-shopper

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Chinese imports still growing, with healthier and tastier fruit

Chinese exporters and importers are increasingly looking online. Perishables set to account for 7% of online sales of agrifood products

China still continues to increase its imports of fresh produce. Total imports reached US$ 641.91 million in May 2016, 2.3% more than for the same period last year. The main retailers are online, as fresh food e-commerce is expected to reach US$ 14 billion in 2017, with a penetration rate of 7%.

Imported fruit safer and tastier

The younger generations are more educated and more concerned about their health. In China, 65% of national growth depends on the under-35s. They pay attention to brand and country of production and consider that imported produce is premium produce. As Gordon Orr wrote: “Chinese consumers associate imported fruit and vegetables with safety and quality, as they do with imported milk. This creates a willingness to pay a premium.”

Cold-chain and transport systems are so poor and demand so high that the Chinese fresh produce industry is looking to trade directly. The Chinese fresh e-market is one of the most dynamic in the world. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, online fresh food sales have been increasing by more than 50% every year. In the third quarter [or: last third / final four months?] of 2015, they were worth 8 billion yuan ($5.76 billion).

Shopping for fruit and vegetables online

Alibaba.com is the leading name for e-commerce in China, including fresh food. In view of the rising demand for fresh produce online, it has recently signed agreements with national fruit exporters’ organizations, such as that of October 2015 to promote Chilean blueberries and cherries in China or the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise signed in April 2016.

Maggie Zhou, director of Alibaba’s New Zealand and Australia branch, said: “With our strong networks in China and expertise in e-commerce, we will enable Chinese consumers to benefit from the premium products and fresh foods that New Zealand businesses can offer.” China’s consumption of kiwifruit has soared in the past 3 years and now represents more than 20% of Zespri’s exports. Simon Limmer, the Zespri chief operating officer, said: “(China) will be our biggest market by volume next year and probably by volume and value the following year.”

E-retailers are aware they have to optimize the organization of distribution channels for fresh produce. In June 2015 JD.com, the second largest ecommerce company in China, invested US$70 million in FruitDay, a fresh produce importing company. During the last Chinese New Year, in January 2016, sales of imported fresh food on JD.com rose by more than 300%.

Citrus is king of Chinese fruits during the New Year season

Contrary to Western countries, fruit consumption in China is related to celebrations. Even if urban and young people are buying more and more fruit for health reasons, most fruit is still bought as gifts. They still represent a luxury purchase for Chinese people. Those most purchased for the New Year are citrus. Aligned under the yang principle (sun), receiving and offering citrus fruits symbolises abundance and happiness. In some places, pomelos are used as decorations, as a symbol of family unity. Recently, Chinese people have been buying more and more small fruit, such as cherries, grapes, plums, jujube and kumquats, which symbolise wealth, fortune and fertility. In 2016, the Chinese New Year recorded the highest monthly import value of the past year, 798.87 tons (almost double that of a normal month). Chinese citrus fruit production is forecast to jump to 20 million tons in 2016, with surface area expansion in Guangxi, Hunan and Hubei provinces. In 2015, China represented 2/3 of global production, 2/3 of global consumption and 1/3 of global exports. South Africa is China’s top citrus fruit supplier, followed by the US and Australia.

Image: by Manuel Joseph via Pexels under CC0 License

 

 

 

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China’s love affair with online shopping and convenience stores

Nielsen research shows the lure of cheaper goods online is seeing more and more Chinese embrace ecommerce — particularly via smartphones. This trend and the increasing popularity of convenience stores are together eroding the market share of superstores and supermarkets and making them evolve.

The penetration rate of convenience stores and online shopping in China has jumped to 32% and 38% respectively from last year’s 19% and 35%, according to a Nielsen report.

The global performance management company says in terms of sales and penetration, superstores and supermarkets are losing their market share to convenience stores and online platforms, as more and more people, especially the young, prefer to use these two emerging channels, which are more convenient.

According to Nielsen China vice president Rachel Ma, Chinese consumers used to shop mainly at hyper/supermarkets when stocking up on household basics. But fewer do that now, preferring to get what they need at convenience stores or online, she said.

“Generally speaking, consumers are purchasing less at brick and mortar stores – basket sizes have decreased,” she said.

Price increasingly important to online sales

The main factors driving Chinese consumers to choose online shopping are cheaper prices, the ease of price comparison and delivery service.

Indeed, almost seventy percent (68%) of respondents go online shopping when there are sales. And the lure of cheaper goods was cited by nearly two-thirds of those surveyed by Nielsen as the reason they buy things online, up considerably from 42% last year.

And more than half of the respondents — up from just 15% the previous year — said they prefer online shopping platforms because they make it easier to compare prices.

Another 54% of respondents said they shop online because of the delivery service, up from 42% last year.

Nielsen says sales and promotion are still effective ways to also attract consumers and that online shopping platforms have been ramping up their promotional efforts of late. The penetration of shopping festivals is up to 95% and along with the mushrooming of shopping festivals and various kinds of promotions, the price war is among various ecommerce platforms is becoming fiercer.

It also warns that competition is getting fiercer among online shopping platforms due to product homogeneity, requiring companies to differentiate themselves and build competitive advantages.

Convenience makes mobile e-commerce king 

One of the most interesting changes to note is that in the last year, the mobile has overtaken the PC as China’s most popular device for online shopping. According to Nielsen, 81% of online shoppers use smartphones while just 59% use desktops and 57% use laptops. The overriding reason for the popularity of mobile shopping is convenience — 71% consumers say they find mobile devices more convenient than PCs. What’s more, 52% of the respondents said they prefer mobile devices because of the convenience of mobile payments, a rise of 10% year-over-year.

According to the China Electronic Commerce Information Center, the number of Chinese online payment users had reached 416 million by December 2015 — an increase of 112 million, or 36.8% — since the end of 2014. And mobile payment usage also soared last year, with the number of users reaching 358 million, an increase of 64.5%. The percentage of netizens who use mobile payments increased from 39.0% to 57.7%.

Superstores must offer pleasant shopping, attractive promotions

Nielsen research shows the penetration rate of hypermarkets and supermarkets did increase slightly in 2015, by two and one percentage points respectively, to reach 78% and 82%, and the frequency of visits by customers remains stable. However, the average shopping basket value fell from 172.4 RMB in 2014 to 162.7 RMB.

The fact that the sales and penetration growth rates for convenience stores and online shopping are outpacing those of traditional superstores and supermarkets is forcing the latter to transform so as to better meet consumers’ changing needs. They also have to adapt to the fact that the rise of online platforms has helped clue up consumers. These increasingly savvy shoppers are paying closer attention to promotions and how pleasant their shopping experiences are in store. Nielsen says the latter this can be harnessed by such stores to competitive advantage.

Friendly service, a wide selection of products, convenient location, an organised assortment and clean environment are the other factors which most influence superstore and supermarket shoppers.

Underlining the importance of location and brand image, 19% of the respondents said they had visited newly opened hyper/supermarkets in the past six months and convenient location (55%) and a good reputation (46%) are the main reasons they go to a new market.

“Therefore, hyper/supermarkets should focus on promoting brand image, interesting promotional activities to retain customers. In addition to that, opening new stores and exploring online platforms to attract new consumers are also important,” Nielsen said.

JB

Source: http://www.nielsen.com/cn/en/insights/news/2016/Nielsen-convenience-stores-and-online-shopping-become-major-consumption-ways.html

Image: By Mcy jerry at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16985897

 

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Upsurge in international demand at Alimentaria 2016

Alimentaria Barcelona, Spain’s biannual food and drinks fair, is becoming more international.

Alimentaria Barcelona, Spain’s biannual food and drinks fair, is becoming more international. Organisers were delighted by this year’s figures of more than 140,000 attendees from 157 countries (16 more than in 2014). The number of International buyers, importers and distributors increased by 62%.

Alimentaria has seen the injection of €170 millions in the city. In terms of offer, “Vintage” food recipes revamped, Vegan, health and nutrition supplements and superfood have been the main food trends in the 40th edition of the fair.

According to organisers FIAB (the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation), Spain is the world’s seventh largest exporter of food and drink and also one of the leaders in horticultural exports globally.

Offering both online and offline sales the key to the future

Also at Alimentaria, Mercabarna, Barcelona’s wholesale food hub, took the opportunity to present its second report about e-commerce and food. The goal of this initiative is to create awareness of e-commerce within Spain’s small and medium-sized food companies when it comes to sales strategy.

The future consumer will increasingly buy their produce online either for delivery to their doorstep, via new intermediaries (new food portals or using Amazon services, for instance), or collection at a traditional shop.

For the food business, sensorial and purchase experience will be key, as the consumer still wants to experience and touch the product before purchasing it. So it won’t be surprising to see an online shop to be present offline to boost the customer experience.

Today, food represents 2.2% of e-commerce in Spain and fresh produce 0.8% of the total online food spend, though just 13% of online shoppers buy their fresh produce online.

According to MAGRAMA (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment), fruit and vegetables account for 17% of the total food spend by Spanish consumers. The average household spend on food and drink was €1,482 in 2014. At a macro level, Spanish spent €98 billion on food in 2014, 67.5% of which was consumed in the home and 32.2% involved eating out.

CVA

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Walmart’s seamless shopping strategy

Walmart's “seamless shopping” strategy starts with its existing, unparalleled assets – 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain – but also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

Customers used to compare Walmart with the store down the street; now they compare it with the best online shopping experience, says CEO Doug McMillon.

“And beyond retail, they compare us with every business they interact with in their lives. They compare our pickup experience to the speed and friendliness of the best drive-through. They compare our checkout process to the ease of paying with an app,” he want on to say.

In an excerpt from the American multinational retail chain’s 2015 annual report, McMillon said retail is not just about putting items on a shelf anymore. “It’s about fighting for our customers, cutting out the hassles and advocating for them on price, too. We’re moving beyond just selling products to being the brand customers rely on to make their lives simpler and more meaningful as they save money.”

McMillon said Walmart’s “seamless shopping” strategy starts with “unparalleled assets that only Walmart has – our 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain. But it also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

“This includes new digital tools for customers and frontline associates, as well as back-end software and platform work that benefits the entire enterprise. The use of data, algorithms, advanced forecasting capabilities – and more – is of extreme strategic significance.

“We will put these pieces together in a way no one else can,” he said.

“To help our associates succeed and better serve our customers, we’ve made big changes – including investing approximately $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, education and training to make Walmart U.S. a better place to work and shop.

“We’re already seeing positive results: our fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 marked six consecutive quarters of positive comps and five straight quarters of positive traffic at Walmart U.S. Everything we’re doing in omnichannel depends on customers having great interactions with us in our stores.”

And the retail giant will strive to be more sustainable, “both in our own operations and in our supply chain,” he said.

“We have three big goals: creating zero waste, running on 100 percent renewable energy and selling products that sustain people and the environment.”

 

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Tudespensa earns a staunch customer base in Spain

“Our most loyal customers are those who buy fresh produce from us.” Juan Carlos Chillaron

One of Spain’s first exclusively online supermarkets, Tudespensa.com was launched in October 2012 and now has 80,000 registered customers with 30% growth expected this year.

Tudespensa– which translates as ‘Your pantry’ – aims to set the benchmark for quality and freshness in fresh produce e-commerce in Spain. Head of fresh produce procurement and pricing, Juan Carlos Chillaron, explains how.

What is your fresh produce strategy?

Fresh produce is the most important part of the www.tudespensa.com online supermarket and so we always aim to exceed our customers’ expectations in terms of the quality of our produce. This applies to all kinds of fresh produce, but in the case of fruit implies achieving this amid the idiosyncrasies of these products, where the quality perceived by the customer is not just influenced by freshness, but by other factors such as the calibre of the fruit and, above all, the ripeness of each piece fruit, as well as the packaging and labelling. For all our fresh produce we aim to keep the supply chain as short as possible, selecting and packing the product for delivery the same day or at the most the next morning, giving the customer the maximum possible product life – these are our competitive advantages.

How are you able to offer competitive prices, particularly when you have to factor in delivery costs?

You have to bear in mind that all our products arrive in fully labelled packaging, ensuring product traceability, and via refrigerated transport. They are kept in conditions of maximum food safety until they reach our customers’ fridges. Also, the formats for each of our products are adapted so they meet the needs of all our customers, without having to buy too little or too much of something, with the above-mentioned food safety guarantee, and every tray must carry full product information, such as on origin, category and weight. As well, every product has its own information sheet customers can view online while making a purchase. Taking into account all these factors, our pricing policy is based on a comparison with our online competitors selling comparable – of the same quality and calibre – labelled and pre-packaged products. We try to keep a balance, as do all retailers, in trying to offer the best prices while also achieving the margins the company needs.

What is the biggest challenge in selling fruit and vegetables online?

It’s the same for all online food retailers, it’s getting consumers to change their shopping habits, with the additional factor that we will be selecting their fruit and vegetables for them. The immediacy expected of online sales adds other challenges, such as the need to not only have the produce available, but of the desired quality and as soon as possible, as well as to offer a very wide range. For all these reasons, the rigour we require of ourselves at www.tudespensa. com must reflect that demanded by the customer, but without incurring very high costs as they also want competitive prices.

How many of your first-time customers return?

Nearly two-thirds of customers stay with Tudespensa after trying us the first time and we are especially pleased that 9 out of 10 customers recommend us to their friends and acquaintances. Another positive aspect is that our most loyal customers are those who buy fresh produce from us. Indeed, 81% of all orders include something from the fresh produce department, and 28% involve something from every section. We think this indicates that most of our customers understand and appreciate the complexity of doing their shopping for them, and the daily effort that goes into picking and delivering the best products in a timely manner, and their loyalty is the best possible response and biggest asset we could have. Although there will always be some consumers who want to keep buying these products in a traditional way, we have developed different ways to show them how much more convenient it is to not have to go to a store and carry heavy weights. One is the site www. valoratutiempo.es (assess your time), which we launched to prove to customers that doing their own shopping ends up being more expensive, and which has already been used by 8,500 people.

Where is your logistics platform?

For fresh produce, we are strategically located right near Mercamadrid, one of the biggest fresh produce markets in Europe, where our partners in the supply of meat, fruit, vegetables and fish are also based. Every day before 9am they deliver produce – packaged and labelled – to our automated warehouse, where it is soon dispatched to fulfil our customers’ orders. 
 

KEY FACTS

Turnover 2014: €8.9 million (expecting +30% 2015)
Expected to break even for first time this year  
Average customer spend: €115
Total assortment: more than 7,000 products
Fruit & vegetable items: 158 (including pre-prepared products): fruit 69, vegetables 89
Current top-selling fruit: bananas, oranges, mandarins
Current top-selling vegetables: potatoes, onions, courgettes
Fruit & vegetables imported: 25% of total (due to off-season produce & big tropical range)
Orders including some fresh produce: 81%
Delivery: 98% of orders delivered within customer’s chosen 2-hour slot
Logistics base: more than 8,000 m2  (incl. automated warehouse) beside Mercamadrid
Coverage: Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Guadalajara
Main competitors: Ulabox (100% online) plus retail chains Mercadona, Carrefour, El Corte Inglés
Forecast growth in food e-commerce in Spain: 18% by 2017

JB