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FMCG segment to further pick up in Q4

By WANG YING | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-09 07:13
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Shoppers buy groceries at an outlet in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. JIA MINJIE/FOR CHINA DAILY

China's fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector showed mild recovery during the first nine months, thanks to rising consumer interest in healthy, cost-efficient and distinctive products, a new report showed.

Industry experts said they expect the recovery to continue in the fourth quarter.

Driven mainly by a 1.2 percent increase in sales volume, China's FMCG industry experienced a modest growth of 1 percent during the January-September period this year, according to the report on Chinese shoppers jointly released by consultancies Bain & Co and Kantar Worldpanel on Thursday.

"Despite the challenges, China's FMCG market has consistently demonstrated long-term resilience and capacity for growth," said Deng Min, a partner at Bain & Co, based in Shanghai.

Third-quarter sales value, however, decreased 0.9 percent overall compared to the same period last year, the report said.

"There are signs of hope. In the first four weeks of the third quarter, we saw a noteworthy increase of 5 percent in value, aided by a resurgence in consumer demand due to heightened holiday spending," said Bruno Lannes, a partner at Bain & Co, based in Shanghai.

According to Lannes, though the increased spending during this period was not counted in the data, a continued expansion overall in the FMCG market is emerging.

"While growth in the FMCG sector appears moderate, this does not necessarily signify a decrease in overall consumer spending. Instead, there may be a reallocation of expenditure toward sectors such as dining out and travel, reflecting a post-COVID shift in consumer priorities," Lannes said.

In the past few years, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer preferences toward healthy, value-for-money, and exclusive products across various categories, a change that reflects consumers' increased willingness to pay more for better quality and experiences, and this will impact the FMCG market, it said.

For example, in their purchases of food and beverages, consumers are increasingly favoring healthier options including organic, natural, and functional foods, the report said.

During the first nine months of this year, China's FMCG market witnessed differentiated performances in the four major sectors — home care, beverages, personal care, and packaged food.

Specifically, home care sustained its growth momentum with a notable 8.8 percent growth in value from a year ago. This was driven by robust consumer stockpiling behavior and continued health and hygiene concerns, particularly for essentials such as toilet paper and tissue, according to the report.

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