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When speaking about online beverage sales in the U.S. and E.U. markets, opportunity is often synonymous with the future. For example, online grocery is expected to quadruple to $100 billion in 2019 and food and beverage brands are encouraged to invest in platforms like Fresh Direct and Amazon to capture future online shoppers. But in China, the future is now. E-tailer platforms competing for a strong position across the 40 cities with populations of more than a million, and brands are following.

L2’s first Digital IQ Index: Beverages China finds that 32% of brands offer some type of e-commerce, mostly in the form of seamless handoff to third-party e-tailers such as Tmall and Jing Dong. The majority of links lead to a specific product listing or at the very least a branded storefront.

A few brands are even more innovative in presenting e-commerce to their customers. Moutai and Luzhou Lao Jiao are the only two index brands offering direct-to-consumer e-commerce, and Moutai has developed its e-commerce page to host user-generated content campaigns. Moutai’s site also links to QQ live chat, Union Pay, and Alipay, and hosts loyalty programs.

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