China leapfrogs America to become leading ice-cream consumer

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Ice cream

Asia-Pacific countries are coming to prominence in the US$31bn global ice cream market, with first-placed China now accounting for roughly one-third of consumption after years of steady growth.

Australia, New Zealand and India join America, which was formerly the world’s biggest consumer, Denmark and Belgium as the leading ice-cream consumers in a market dominated globally by Unilever.

China's has been witnessing steady ice-cream market growth over the past several years—the market volume in the country amounted to just over US$4bn in 2010, and is projected to reach US$6.65bn by 2016, Research & Markets has revealed in a new report. 

In 2014, China consumed approximately one-third of the ice cream bought globally and surpassed America as the largest consumer. Key players there include Yili, Walls, Mengniu and Nestlé. 

Though much smaller, the Indian market is now estimated to be worth around US$600m, and is growing at a rate of 15-20% year-on-year. By 2019, it will be expected to have increased to US$925m. 

In this fragmented industry, there are over 10,000 Indian ice cream manufacturers. In the organised segment, Amul is the leading player and holds close to 32% of the market share, followed by Vadilal Industries. Other large companies include Hindustan Unilever, Mother Dairy, Havmor and Nestle. 

Unilever remains dominant in global organised retail sales. Last year, the multinational held a 22.8% share of a market that has recently been witnessing slow but steady year-on-year growth—a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years. 

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