The latest report from the Chinese government reveals that in 2017 overall imports of bottled wine in China rose by 14.6% in volume and 16.4% in value compared to 2016, putting this country on course to be the second largest market in the wine industry by 2020.
The figures also show that the Chinese are still buying French: French wines remain the market leader and account for 40% of the market share. However, New World producers such as Australia and Chile are rapidly gaining ground and saw a 33% and 24% rise respectively versus 2016. They are among some of the countries that have recently benefited from lower import tariffs and favourable trade agreements with China so these figures will most likely increase over the next few years.
The data suggests an ever-increasing interest in premium wines among Chinese consumers, especially from New World producers such as the USA that saw a 44.09% increase in value versus 2016 (compared to France’s 8.84% increase). As wine drinking becomes more commonplace in Chinese culture this figure will most certainly rise. In a similar vein to other big wine consuming countries, China is benefitting from a growing millennial market that is willing to spend a bit extra on a bottle than previous generations.
Red wine remains the most popular wine, due in part to red being both the national colour and a lucky colour in Chinese culture. White, on the hand, is often associated with death and explains the relative lack of interest in white wine among Chinese consumers.
As e-commerce becomes more and more accessible, Chinese customers have more choice than ever. Research shows that 21 million Chinese people buy wine on the internet. Together with social media, it has never been easier for the Asian wine lover to access the fascinating world of wine. Watch this space!
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