Although China’s seafood imports have declined in 2020, its consumption potential shouldn’t be underestimated – the experts tell.
The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on China and the global seafood supply chain. In the second quarter, catering consumption has not improved significantly. As a result, China’s seafood imports have declined. But the Chinese market recovered earlier than other countries’. Once the seafood supply chain returns to normal, the industry will operate normally and consumption will increase.
For few months, the Chinese people have been worried about the safety of imported seafood. However, the Chinese government’s strict inspection of imported frozen products, it is expected to restore Chinese consumers confidence in the imported frozen products.
In the long run, with the improvement of people’s income level and the development of logistics, China’s seafood consumer market will maintain the long-term growth. In addition to pork and eggs, seafood has become an important source of protein for the Chinese consumers. Compared with meat, more and more Chinese consumers favor healthier seafood and China’s demand for seafood will increase.
The growth diversity of distribution channels for seafood also matters. Chinese consumers attach great importance to the freshness of seafood. Older Chinese consumers prefer to buy fresh seafood directly at the open market. The Chinese catering market also increased the demand for seafood. In Chinese cuisine, seafood is a very important ingredient, which provides a huge opportunity for the imported seafood. Some imported seafood’s catering sales are far greater than retail sales. Salmon for instance, is mainly consumed in the catering market in China, while the proportion of household consumption is not large.
Online channels for both domestic and imported seafood developed at high speed in China. The pandemic encouraged more people to buy seafood online, especially the young consumers.
China’s seafood market is highly seasonal and dependent on festivals and high-end seafood got extremely popular during festivals. The internet search for seafood increased during Spring Festival and it is expected also to grow during the Autumn festivities like Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday. Traditionally, the Chinese people consider that Autumn period is a good season for the consumption of seafood. Seafood sellers prepare for this period special seafood gift boxes that could be purchased in both offline and online channels.
For all Chinese seafood industry’s players, the upcoming National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays are expected to bring a strong revival of the seafood consumption in 2020.