Tourists shop at a duty-free shopping mall in Sanya, South China’s Hainan province, on March 12, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is leading the pace in global consumer market recovery, with online consumption growing and offline channels starting to rebound in full momentum, thanks to the successful control of COVID-19 across the country, a Nielsen report said on Friday.

According to the report, heading into the third quarter, online sales started to grow in a more rational manner while offline sales rebounded strongly.

The report showed that the importance of online channels reached a high of 34 percent in the second quarter due to the COVID-19 impact and the June 18 shopping festival. However, in July and August, the growth of online sales became more rational, and the importance of online channels fell to 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, offline channels started to recover in full momentum, and the importance of offline channels in July and August was 75 percent and 73 percent, respectively, compared to 66 percent in the second quarter.

The Nielsen report found that by August, most of the offline stores in China had already returned to normal operation. The in-business rate of existing stores in modern trade rose from 76 percent in March to 86 percent in August, while that of traditional trade increased from 64 percent to 80 percent. The in-business rate of existing stores in the baby sector increased from 67 percent to 80 percent, while that of the cosmetics sector rose from 53 percent to 75 percent.

Tina Ding, chief commercial officer of Nielsen China, said: “As seen from China’s latest economic data, as well as Nielsen’s fast-moving consumer goods figures, the overall retail sector is on a path to recovery. During the epidemic, offline channels were severely affected while digital platforms such as online office, online shopping, online education and online entertainment, grew strongly. However, we are now starting to see positive signs of recovery in the offline channels operated by FMCGs.”

Justin Sargent, president of Nielsen China, said: “The pandemic has forced many people to stay at home instead of going out, and this has resulted in a significant change in the retail landscape. The way people shop is no longer the same and some of these changes may be permanent. We are also witnessing this shift globally and this means that retailers and brand owners need to rethink where, when and how people shop, and adapt their strategy to meet the consumers’ new needs.”