China Not a One Billion Market
Potential Chinese wine consumers are currently a drop in the ocean but opportunities for growth of imported wines will exist in the next 10-15 years, Wine Intelligence announced at the London Wine Fair.
Despite China’s total population hitting 1.33 billion, only 23 million adults aged 18-50 can afford to buy imported wines and only 14.3million currently buy it, the market research group said. Around 92% of current grape-based wine drinkers consume domestic products, Wine Intelligence’s China: The Great Red Hope revealed.
Jean Philip Perrouty, Wine Intelligence research director told delegates: “The imported wine market is only the size of imports to Norway. It is not a 1billion market.”He said the potential in 10-15 years will depend on the growth of middle and upper class urbanites in four key cities - Beijing, Wuhan, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But warned that Chinese cities were diverse with the latter two being more “modern” and the Beijing and Wuhan more “traditional” in their needs. Food and wine matching will be key to success along with relevant brand labeling.
Jenny Li, Wine Intelligence China researcher added: “Domestic wines do well because the labels are easy to understand and use the color red, believed to be a good luck color.”
Barriers to success for imported wines into China include the price of wine. The average income for the target sector is £700 and a bottle of imported wine costs £14 compared to the domestic price of £4.
There are also currently too many wines that are the “same” making it hard for consumers to differentiate. Labels are also in a foreign language which some Chinese do not understand, the researchers said. However, a wish for young Chinese to aspire to western culture and the prestige of imports compared to domestic, especially in business or for a romantic night will help drive future growth. (Harpers’ Wine and Spirits)