Export Import Wine, How to export wine? Consumer profiles in China. China wine market consumers overview. If you want to export or import wine to China you muss know your clients habits. Why do they buy wine? Where? How much they pay?

Wine drinking in China is associated with western customs, and is viewed as fashionable, sophisticated and worldly. The targeted demographic for typical customers include mid to high income earners, those in tertiary education and the 20-50 year-old age group. Female consumers are also been observed to drink more in recent years.

At present, wine purchases by average Chinese consumers fall largely into two categories: Banquet dining and retail gift purchases. In neither case does the buyer buy wine for themselves. Instead wine serves as an elegant and tasteful gift to share or for others to enjoy.

Banquets generally involve competitive drinking among men. In a formal banquet drinking environment, ordering expensive dishes and drink demonstrates respect for guests, and red wine is increasingly substituted for baijiu at toasts. Wine, especially red, is perceived as a good gift during holidays like Spring Festival when family and friends gather to celebrate and where gifts packaged in elaborate cardboard boxes are popular.

Wine will only begin to become a mass market product when drunk by rural inhabitants and urban professionals alike, and this is a very long way off. It has been estimated that, at present, if you discount the large number of rural workers and lower paid industrial workers who might never buy a bottle of wine in their lives, the maximum number of people worth considering as a marketable demographic in China is at the very most 167 million. If this population segment is used then the average per capita consumption (including retail and HoReCa) would be about 5.54 litres per capita or 7.4 bottles (750ml) during 2009.

Industry experts suggest that 80% of wine sales are red wine, though this varies across China. For example Shandong province, a coastal province on the same latitude as Bordeaux and well-known for wine production, is home to a more sophisticated consumer who is much more accustomed to drinking white wine.

Red wine is drunk by Chinese consumers almost exclusively as a table wine accompanying a meal. Future industry growth will rely heavily on the development of the ‘meal occasion’ market and Chinese consumers’ taste for new foreign products. Expensive bottles of red wine have become a trophy drink of the Chinese new rich to demonstrate wealth and good taste.

Growth rates from 2003 to 2009 show a marked increase in white wine consumption and variety in the market. Source: Access Asia

Growth in white wine sales is mainly due to the preferences of Chinese women, who tend to consume it mixed with soft drinks. Consumption of Rosé wine remains very small, although volumes have more than doubled in

recent years. Sparkling wine sales have also increased amongst wealthy Chinese, who make purchases to celebrate special occasions, especially weddings.

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