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Global FMCG online sales grew by 26% in 2016



E-commerce now contributes to 35% of global FMCG growth.

E-commerce now contributes to 35% of global FMCG growth.

Kantar Worldpanel’s quarterly FMCG E-commerce Index, published today, reveals the global growth of the FMCG e-commerce market. In 2016, global FMCG online sales grew by 26%, with e-commerce now contributing to 35% of global FMCG growth.

Sales continue to rise, particularly in the world’s most advanced e-commerce markets.

Table 1: E-commerce value share per markets

(Percentage of e-commerce FMCG purchases vs. total consumers’ FMCG purchases across all channels)


In 2016, FMCG e-commerce growth was highest in the most mature markets in Asia: China (+53%) and South Korea (+40%).

In Europe, the countries with major evolutions are Spain and Portugal, +29% and + 24% respectively, with the biggest e-commerce markets, UK and France, still growing at a pace of +8%.

Whilst China and South Korea are clearly embracing the digital shopping experience, Latin America remains less engaged. In the US, the 2nd market for e-grocery, the share of e-commerce represents just 1.5%. However, with initiatives from Amazon and more established US grocery retailers, the region is likely to catch up quickly.

Table 2. Evolution of consumers’ online purchases of FMCG products in value in 2016. In percentage.

Kantar Worldpanel identifies three key e-commerce markets: advanced, mature and emerging. South Korea leads the advanced market, where almost 70% of the population is shopping online more than once per month. The UK, France, USA, Mainland China and Taiwan sit within the mature market where online is reaching more than 25% of the population. The emerging market covers regions such as parts of Latin America, where e-commerce’s share remains small with less than 10% of the population shopping online. However, this should grow as connectivity improves and a new group of consumers have access to online shopping for the first time.

The proportion of the population that has purchased FMCG goods online at least once per year is steadily increasing across the globe, aside from Argentina.

Table 3. Percentage of households that buy online FMCG products at least once a year. In 2016.

Frequency in online shopping is also increasing on a global scale. 

Table 4. Number of purchases per year per household using the online channel for FMCG products.

Whilst frequency of online shopping is on the rise, the average spend per shopping occasion remains much higher than offline, with the average online spend twice as high in South Korea, Taiwan and France and four times as high in the UK. 

Table 5. Spend per online FMCG purchase in US Dollars. Index mean how many times the online ticket was higher than the offline one.

Stéphane Roger, Global Shopper and Retail Director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains:

“This report provides a snapshot update on the FMCG global e-commerce market. We wanted to provide our clients with up to date findings, given this is such a fast changing market. Even since last September’s ‘The future of e-commerce in FMCG’ report, we have seen significant changes in global e-commerce—a growth acceleration of +26% vs. +15% in 2015.

“The future development of e-commerce is strongly connected to the culture, habits and beliefs of each country. Kantar Worldpanel’s quarterly e-commerce index is designed to help retailers and brands navigate their online future; a one size fits all approach will not work.”

Eric Batty, Global E-commerce Business Development Director

“E-commerce accounts for 4.6 % of the FMCG market globally but represents 35% of the growth—eight times its weight in the market. E-commerce may only reach a small proportion of grocery shoppers but it’s no surprise that manufacturers are investing considerably in this channel – many of them creating dedicated teams to build their online strategies – because it represents the main accelerator to their future growth.”

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Benjamin Cawthray

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