COVID-19 brings strong China online sales for ANZ’s Comvita and AuMake

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Comvita saw strong online sales for its immune-boosting UMF Manuka honey products amid the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.
Comvita saw strong online sales for its immune-boosting UMF Manuka honey products amid the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.

Related tags Australia New zealand Honey daigou

Australia and New Zealand health foods companies are seeing strong online sales of immune boosting supplements from the China market.

This has helped to offset a drop in their in-country sales due to a decline in the number of visiting Chinese tourists.

Mānuka honey maker Comvita said in its latest NZX market update that its online sales during the first 10 days of March in China had grown by 70%, largely driven by the sales of its immune boosting products.

Comvita’s flagship product is the Propolis and Mānuka honey, which is said to display anti-viral and immunity-boosting benefits.

The company said strong online sales in China has offset the loss brought by fewer shoppers visiting the traditional retail.

In fact, there was a drop seen in offline sales across Asia, again due to the travel restriction as a result of the pandemic.

“Though travel restrictions have reduced shopper numbers and negatively impacted traditional bricks and mortar retail sales, we have since seen strong performance through our online channels across all our markets as consumers seek ingredients known to support immune function,”​ the company said.

In terms of supply chain, CEO David Banfield said the products had passed China’s customs clearance efficiently and that the company’s warehouse in Shenzhen was operating at full capacity.

The company remains positive about the normalisation in the number of Chinese shopper numbers as China attempts to return to normal.

Australia’s daigou specialist, AuMake, on the other hand, also saw exceptionally strong online sales, once again matching its record of $1.7m – a figure which it first achieved in December last year.

The company mainly sells health products such as propolis mouth spray​, infant formula​, dairy, and skincare products.

Similarly, it said that strong online sales in China was due to restricted physical movement of people.

Due to the impressive online sales, the company thus launched its WeChat store to cater ANZ products to Chinese consumers late last month.

“We are very confident that demand from Chinese consumers for Australian products remains strong and will significantly accelerate once bans are lifted and physical channels to the Chinese market open again,”​ Executive chairman Keong Chan said.

Global demand for immune boosters

In fact, Comvita also saw strong online sales for its immunity-boosting products across the globe in general.

It said it received “more than double” ​yoy growth in terms of global orders from its website.

Immunity supporting products, such as the Propolis and Fresh-Picked Olive Leaf Extract and the UMF Manuka honey, were the popular products.

Country wise, it saw strong demand in the UK, where sales were up by nearly 100%, and the US, where sales were up 50%.

With the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the UK has 1,140 reported cases​ as of March 14, while the US has 1,629 reported cases​ as of March 13.

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