Wine Intelligence suggests that China’s wine market is undergoing a second revolution. These findings are the result of market research originating from the Wise initiative.


Business intelligence has been a key theme of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise) resulting in Global Market and Consumer Research as one of the key projects. Top UK-based wine market research firm, Wine Intelligence, has identified various countries as focus markets, based on South

Africa’s capabilities and on market attractiveness factors. China Landscape and China Portraits are the first research reports to be made available as part of this initiative.


The Global Market and Consumer Research project will provide information about the potential for top markets, based on factors such as geographical location in target and adjacent markets, existing presence, distribution channels and routes to market, as well as product portfolio pertaining to country of origin, cultivar and price point. This assessment will provide a comprehensive picture of global drinks trends and an understanding of what emerging consumer groups – such as younger consumers and wine drinkers in fast-growing consumer markets – are demanding.


China remains the fifth largest consumption market in the world for wine, and imported 30.9 million cases of wine in 2013, according to the IWSR (International Wine and Spirits Research). Still light wine volume accounted for 158 million 9 litre cases in 2013, with a year-on-year growth rate of 14% since 2009.


Wine Intelligence now estimates that there were 38 million urban upper-middle-class drinkers of imported wine in China in 2014, up from 19 million in 2011. The prediction is that there would be 70 – 80 million drinkers of imported wine in China by 2020.


China’s wine market is undergoing a second revolution, as imported wine evolves from a face-enhancing gift into a social drink for the aspirational new urban wealthy.


Government anti-corruption policies remain key drag on luxury spending. This has had a spectacular negative impact on sales of luxury goods and services in China in general, and luxury spirits, watches and leather goods in particular. It has also had a significant impact on wines selling for over R400, and especially for over R2 000.


Total still light wine has stagnated, with slow growth for imported wine. Sparkling wine and wines from Spain and Chile have experienced strong growth. Domestic wine still dominates the still light wine market in China. However, its size dropped in 2013, while imported wine experienced slower growth than in the previous five years.


The population of drinkers of imported wine has increased significantly over the previous five years, now estimated at 38 million urban 18 – 54 year olds.

The South African wine industry is in the process of developing a new strategic framework aimed at improving competitiveness and coherence through, inter alia, more focused communication and an industry-wide governance structure.


Published in the August 2015 issue of WineLand magazine.


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