On March 16th, JD.com signed a contract with Zespri, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, becoming the world’s first online retailer to supply Zespri kiwifruit from the brand directly to consumers. Given COVID-19, this contract was signed remotely online, instead of in person.
As part of the agreement, JD’s online and offline fresh food businesses, JD Fresh and 7Fresh, will procure over 1.2 million trays (3.3 kg per tray) of Zespri’s kiwifruit from New Zealand this year. With the renewed contract, Zespri’s sales on JD are expected to exceed RMB 300 million annually.
Since the launch of Zespri’s flagship store on JD in 2017, sales of the brand have increased more than 14 times. In 2019, sales of the company’s kiwifruit on JD exceeded RMB 200 million in November. Kiwifruit is especially popular with middle class consumers who are focused on health and nutrition.
“JD is Zespri’s key partner in China in brand promotion, consumer operation and lower-tier city penetration,” said Michael Jiang, General Manager of Zespri Greater China. According to JD’s data, 60% of customers of Zespri products are JD PLUS members and 75% are married. In 2019, sales of Zespri in 4th to 6th tier cities increased 46% year-on-year.
This year’s first Zespri kiwifruit harvest will begin selling on JD in April. The brand’s premium SunGold kiwifruit will launch pre-order across JD’s online platform and offline supermarkets on March 23rd.
As Chinese consumers are increasingly buying fresh food online, JD has leveraged its “new infrastructure”, including digital supply chain and cold-chain logistics expertise to source globally. The success of this has been proven during COVID-19. From January 20th to February 18th, JD Fresh sold over 88,000 tons of fresh produce to nationwide customers.
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