The sheer scale of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has radically changed consumer behaviour in China as - due to safety concerns - many are unable to or have chosen not to go out and have instead opted to buy food online for home delivery instead. Because of this, JD.com is attempting to adapt quickly.
To meet massive customer demand, the Chinese eCommerce company has launched a fresh produce emergency team with procurement and sales personnel paying close attention to sales trends. It has also established a daily mechanism to update inventory levels and production information, helping to launch countermeasures in advance.
Since the team's launch, sales of pork increased the fastest, jumping up by more than 10 times year-on-year while sales of beef, mutton, poultry, and eggs rose by 400%. Vegetable sales recorded an about 450% increase compared with the same period last year.
JD.com said that it has also implemented several measures to protect its nationwide staff at its brick-and-mortar supermarket 7FRESH. This includes rolling out morning health condition examinations, undertaking random body temperature checks, providing masks to employees, enforcing hand-washing standards, and launching clear procedures for the disinfection of public facilities, tools, and tableware.
The statistics JD.com has provided are extremely telling of the situation. Big data analysis shows that from the eve of Chinese New Year on 24 January to 2 February, JD.com delivered 19,000 tons of rice and flour, 5.9 million litres of cooking oil, 15,000 tons of fresh food, 15 million packages of instant noodles, and hundreds of millions of medical supply items to consumers in China.
Rice and dairy have seen a great increase in sales, as the sales volume of these products increased by 154% year-on-year (in comparison to the same time on the lunar calendar), with rice and wheat products increasing by 5.4 and 4.7 times respectively. The consumption of cereals surged on 25 January (the first day of Chinese New Year) and on 26 January (the second day of Chinese New Year), sales increased as much as 15 times compared with the same time during the holiday last year. The sales volume of instant food products also increased by 3.5 times year-on-year. Bottled water and cooking oil have risen by 1.54 and 1.43 times respectively, while dairy and seafood products doubled.
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