The value of China’s online grocery market is expected to grow five-fold to almost $180bn (£115bn) by 2020, new research has found.

Chinese online grocery business Yihaodian is owned by Walmart

With the Chinese population swelling and the continued rise of the middle class, China – already the world’s biggest online grocery market – will continue to march ahead of other countries when it comes to online food shopping.

By 2020 China’s online grocery market will be worth almost $70bn (£45bn) more than the other top nine online grocery markets combined, according to the latest IGD research.

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “Already the world’s largest, the Chinese online grocery market is maturing rapidly and will significantly dwarf other countries by 2020.

“This will be powered by more people in China having access to the internet both through smartphones and other devices. Given the size of its population, even a small change will have a significant impact.

“Most online sales in China take place through digital marketplaces, such as Alibaba’s business to consumer site Tmall. These allow international retailers without stores in China to gain instant access to new customers and tap into the booming Chinese market with limited investment.”

The British market

In the UK, the online grocery market will jump from $15bn (£9.6bn) to $28bn (£18bn) in the next five years. Denny-Finch said this was being driven by both shopper demand and new retail innovations making the purchase of groceries online more convenient.

“The UK has always been a leader in online grocery, with both retailers and shoppers keen to embrace new technology, and we expect this to continue,” she added.