Snack sales see spike in China

The “homebody economy” has been spurring sales of snacks in China amid the COVID-19 epidemic.


Wang Ziwen, a big fan of snacks, spent an average of 1,000 yuan on them every month this year. “Due to the outbreak, I stayed at home to attend online classes for half a year and went out less, so I tended to buy snacks online,” said the 23-year-old student from a university in east China’s Shanghai.

“In addition to lower prices and having them delivered to my doorstep, the most important thing is that online sales channels can offer me a rich variety of products to choose from,” Wang said.

Wang is just one of the many customers who have boosted the sales of snacks due to being stuck at home. Some consumers prefer healthy snacks such as homemade biscuits with less oil and sugar, and nuts with no extra processing.

The Chinese snack industry is expected to maintain a compound growth rate of over 6 percent, with an estimated sales volume of 3 trillion yuan in 2020, which may exceed 4 trillion yuan in 2025, according to a recent industry report.

The sector registered a compound growth rate of 6.7 percent from 2013 to 2019, the report said.

Industry insiders said that the boom in snack consumption, which has become a distinctive feature of the homebody economy, was attributed to surging consumer demand underpinned by the Chinese economy.

They added that the increasing popularity of snacks, also a result of the changes in lifestyle during the epidemic period, indicate a long-term trend of upgraded consumption.

The growth in snack consumption reflects the huge domestic demand in the Chinese economy, according to Wan Zhe, a visiting research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies under the Renmin University of China.

Consumers’ growing demand for a greater variety of quality snacks demonstrates their boosted capacity for consumption, while the upgrading of the snack sector is resulting in more quality products being available, Wan explained, adding that special snacks from all over the world are also available thanks to more sophisticated packing technology and logistics channels. All these contribute to the growing snack consumption market, Wan noted.

Looking to the future trend of the snack industry, Wan believed that the sector will enjoy broad space for development due to the impact of the epidemic, consumers’ growing demand, as well as the role of e-commerce and livestream platforms and advanced logistics in promoting sales of snacks. However, the expert emphasized that it’s more important to build snack brands amid fierce competition in the future.