How export Wine to South Korea? How Export Wine into Asia? If you have decided to sell your wine to South Korea have a look and this article, it will give you an overview of the South Korean Wine Market.
South Korea‟s wine imports from all countries amounted to $60.2 million during the first half of 2011, up 12.6 percent from the same period of 2010. Total volume of imports amounted to 12.2 million liters, up 3.5 percent. France remained the leading supplier of wine to South Korea in the first half 2011 with a 27.8 percent market share in terms of value, followed by Chile (25.1 percent), Italy (17.3 percent), and the United States (10.8 percent). In terms of volume, value-oriented countries, Chile and Spain in particular, were the leading suppliers.

After peaking in 2008 at $167 million, South Korea‟s wine imports declined significantly down to $112 million in 2009 and $113 million in 2010 mainly due to the aftermath of international financial crisis that started at the end of 2008

Due to highly publicized health benefit of drinking red wine, current consumption of wine in South Korea is heavily skewed toward red wine, as indicated by the fact that red wine accounted for a 71.6 percent of total wine imports by value in the first half of 2011. However, the idea of food-wine pairing is spreading in the market, and as a result white wine and sparkling wine are likely to gain additional market share in the coming years. In particular, the share of the market taken by sparkling wine has shown the most outstanding growth among different type of products in recent years to reach 9.4 percent in the first half of 2011 by value (5.5 percent in 2008).

Although import trends so far this year indicate a strong sign of recovery, opinions are divided among the local marketers whether the South Korean wine market will soon fully return back to an explosive growth curve experienced before the financial crisis (between 2000 and 2008,

South Korea‟s wine imports increased 741 percent from $20 million to $167 million). Many wine businesses were forced out of the market over the last two years, and wine importers and distributors in general currently maintain a conservative stance in expanding product portfolio as well as deploying additional marketing activities. But marketers agree that the market should easily maintain a double digit annual growth in the coming years because strong attention on globalized dietary culture and healthy lifestyle among the general public, which was the key driving force behind the explosive growth in the past, still prevails.

The South Korean wine market is still in an early stage of development. Although the wine business was liberalized in early 1990‟s, wine is still considered as a luxury good and is consumed by a small portion of the population. According to the government data, wine accounted for less than 2 percent of total alcohol beverage consumption in Korea (by volume) in 2010. Marketers estimate that purchases during holiday seasons for gift giving purposes account for about one third of total yearly wine sales. Furthermore, products targeting the entry level segment of the market, many of which are in jug bottles and sweet tasting, account for over a half of total yearly wine sales (by volume). However, marketers in general forecast that, as increased number of local consumers develops understanding and taste, the South Korean wine market should eventually grow to a size comparable to other developed markets. As an indicator, Japan‟s wine imports ($772 million) were seven times larger than South Korea in 2010. A major barrier that restricts growth of the market is high local taxes and distribution costs, which makes retail price of imported wine in Korea several times higher than the price in the export country.

Key consumers of wine in South Korea are economically established elderly population among 50-60‟s and young professionals in 30-40‟s. It is also notable that many of the young Koreans in 20-30‟s, who have much higher exposure to western culture than their predecessors, are getting interested in wine. In addition, wine is emerging as one of the most preferred alcohol beverages among the female consumers. Although relatively small in number, opinion leading wine consumers have strong influence on consumption trends in the market. In particular, Internet- based wine communities have thousands of serious wine consumers, most of whom possess lengthy experience and knowledge about wine. These opinion leading consumers generate demand for higher quality products and eagerly share their ideas with the general public.

Off-premise (liquor stores and grocery stores) channel is expected to account for higher percentage of overall wine sales in the coming years. In particular, hypermarket stores will be a dominant distribution channel for products targeting the entry through mid-price level segment of the market. However, on-premise (restaurants and bars) channel is likely to remain a key distribution channel for products targeting quality-oriented segments of the market.

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