I’ve been tracking the rise of e-commerce fruit sales in China for the last 18 months, through the likes of companies like FruitDay.
Having met and heard Loren Zhao speak, it is interesting to hear how he describes his business. He says, “We are a technology company that sells fruit.” And that describes the brave and burgeoning world of e-commerce in China.
Having just spent some time in Shanghai, the evidence of e-commerce abounds. People talking about ordering avocados at night to have them delivered in the morning, courier scooters are always loaded with boxes of fruit as part of the Shanghai e-commerce delivery system.
The scope and scale is huge… and getting bigger with estimated 600 million Chinese are online. And, while only about 450 million are actively purchasing, that’s still 450 MILLION PEOPLE ACTIVELY PURCHASING. As a colleague said to me in Shanghai, that’s only about 1/3 of the population… imagine what’s coming. Imagining the future for fresh produce and the impact of e-commerce – that’s where the challenge lies. The scope and scale of the volume required will be significant.
The current Internet story circulating at the moment is about the Australian dairy company who sold out of 30 x 40′ containers of milk in one day. Whether this is true… not sure, but everyone is talking about the scope and scale of what is possible online. Within the fruit world, if e-commerce companies continue to earn the trust customers, if they continue to deliver exceptional quality imported fruit, if they continue to be able to manage distribution of perishables even as they expand, then there is no doubt they are the future in China.
A colleague explained, “Why would I go to the shops for anything I can get online? I order things at work and they are delivered when I get home. It doesn’t get any easier than that.”