In China, the retail sales of fruits in e-commerce from 2018 to 2020 are 74.558 billion, 90.404 billion, and 129.569 billion respectively. In 2019 and 2020, the growth rate of fruit e-commerce retail sales over the same period is 21.26% and 43.32% respectively, and the trend of continuous growth is obvious.
Fruit e-commerce mainly focuses on fresh fruits, and also includes processed fruit products, including preserved fruits, dried fruits, and fruit wine. In 2020, the national online retail sales of fresh fruits will be 129.569 billion RMB, and the online retail sales of processed fruit will be 35.242 billion RMB, accounting for 78.6% and 21.4% respectively. Therefore, if processed fruit products are included, the scale of fruit e-commerce will even be larger.
The occurrence of the epidemic in the past two years has promoted the development of e-commerce and accelerated the online promotion of fresh products. According to the online data, from January to August 2020, there were 3,512 newly registered fresh food e-commerce companies in China, a year-on-year increase of 34.5%. As of the end of August 2020, fresh food e-commerce companies had reached 16,000. In terms of geographical distribution, Guangdong Province ranks first with more than 3,800 companies, followed by Jiangsu and Shandong Provinces with 2,854 and 1,500 respectively, and also then in Hunan, Anhui, Shaanxi, Hubei, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, and other provinces.
The scale of e-commerce applications is still small
In 2019, the market size of China's fruit industry is about 2503.94 billion RMB, which belongs to a trillion-level industry. Fruit consumption is 269 million tons. The data predicts that consumption will continue to grow. However, the scale of fruit e-commerce is relatively small, with sales of 90.404 billion RMB in 2019 and a market penetration rate of only 3.6%.
Statistics show that fruit e-commerce is basically dominated by small sellers. In 2019, online stores with fresh fruit sales of less than 10,000 RMB accounted for 82.57%, and online stores with an annual turnover of more than 100,000 RMB accounted for only 5.19%. In 2020, the number of online fruit shops with online sales of less than 10,000 RMB increased to 89.32%, and online businesses with more than 100,000 RMB only accounted for 3.47%. Compared with 2019, sellers with sales of less than 10,000 RMB have increased by 6.75%, which also confirms the trend of more fruit farmers choosing to sell directly through e-commerce channels.
From the perspective of the sales price and weight specifications, online fruit sales are most popular with consumers at low prices and in small and medium-sized packages. From the perspective of e-commerce distribution areas, the industrial foundation determines the foundation for e-commerce development. At present, China’s major fruit-producing provinces (Guangxi, Shandong, and Shaanxi) have the most e-commerce sales.
The current distribution pattern of fruit e-commerce in China is the same as that of the fruit industry, with an agglomeration phenomenon. However, online sales are still dominated by small-scale operations, and there is still a lack of large-scale or influential brands. The fruit market is huge, but the penetration rate in e-commerce is low, in other words, fruit e-commerce is still a blue ocean that needs to be developed urgently.