China grocery boom accelerates

The China grocery boom is accelerating – but India and the so-called MINT countries are chasing.  

Chinese grocery sales are set to grow by a third between now and 2020 and reach US$1.5 trillion per year, according to new forecasts from IGD. While China will comfortably retain its position as the largest grocery market in the foreseeable future, other markets will grow faster.

IGD predicts:

  • The grocery sector in India will grow by nearly 80 per cent and be worth just over US$900 billion by 2020.
  • Nigeria’s grocery market will achieve the fastest growth of the largest markets, increasing in value by 85 per cent to hit just over US$300 billion by 2020.
  • The other ‘MINT’ countries will also experience rapid growth – grocery sales in Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey will increase by nearly 40 per cent, 63 per cent and 61 per cent respectively.
  • Indonesia’s grocery market will be worth almost as much as the UK’s (ranked seventh in the world) at US$351 billion by 2020.  

IGD CEO Joanne Denney-Finch says while grocery industry growth prospects appear limited in Europe at the moment, this is a time of tremendous opportunity for grocery companies further afield.

“The vast majority of global grocery growth will come from Asia, Africa and the Middle East supported by increasing affluence, urbanisation, and rising population. With many European products and brands highly regarded in these regions, this will be a boom time for companies with export skills.”    

On China, she observed: “Although the Chinese growth rate is slowing, it’s still very impressive, particularly in ‘tier three and four cities’. These are regional, medium-income cities, undergoing rapid development. There are many more opportunities for retailers and Western brands. For example, online grocery will enjoy explosive growth in China, though from a modest base, tripling in size between now and 2020. This will be powered by more Chinese having access to the internet through smartphones and other devices.”

Denney-Finch said in India, while traditional stores will continue to take the lion’s share of the grocery market, consumer spending per capita in real terms will grow faster in the subcontinent than in any of the top grocery markets.

“Combined with an expanding working-age population this will support the growth of modern convenience and supermarket retailing. Retailers are also rapidly setting up online grocery services hoping to tap into the potential of India’s half a billion smartphone users. Despite restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI), international retailers continue to see the potential of investing in India.

“If the expected effects of inflation are stripped out, then India would be the fastest growing of the largest grocery markets while most of the MINT countries would also appear higher up the growth rankings,” she said.


Country 2020




Change in value


2015 – 20

1 China 1,491 1,119 33
2 USA 1,305 1,078 21
3 India 901 503 79
4 Russia 557 380 47
5 Brazil 547 389 41
6 Japan 485 457 6
7 UK 352 310 14
8 Indonesia 351 215 63
9 Mexico 341 245 39
10 Germany 340 304 12
11 France 310 282 10
12 Nigeria 306 165 85
13 Turkey 271 168 61
14 Italy 239 221 8
15 Philippines 160 100 60


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