Consumer spending on fast moving consumer goods in 2015 grew slower at 3.5 percent year on year as China's economy expanded at its slowest pace in 25 years.
Last year's growth in FMCG spending was a decline from the 5.4 percent rise in 2014.
Combined sales volume at hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in first and second-tier cities added just 1.4 percent annually, while sales at county-level cities and counties grew 4.4 percent, research firm Kantar Worldpanel said in a report released yesterday, without giving the absolute figures.
Hypermarkets sales also dropped in first and second-tier cities and provincial capitals by 1.5 percent, but they managed to grow 4.1 percent nationally due to more store openings in the lower-tier cities.
Domestic players and e-commerce giants, meanwhile, continued to eat into the market share of international retailers which saw their share fall to 13.4 percent from 14.5 percent a year ago.
Sales of consumer goods through e-commerce surged 37 percent, with JD.com and Tmall investing heavily to launch promotions.
Convenience stores recorded nationwide expansion of 13.1 percent annually, the report said, adding that they are considered as one of the fastest growing sectors in the country's retail market.