Consumers in Shanghai are increasingly preferring light beers. Rice wine market is currently the biggest in Eastern China, but young consumers prefer grape wine, and demand for this product is expected to decline in the coming years. When it comes to grape wine, consumers in Shanghai are becoming more sophisticated in their choices, and more high quality imported wines are being introduced to the market. Traditional spirit drinking provinces, including Shandong and Anhui, will continue to see a high demand.
Spirits are very popular in Southwestern China, because of the large domestic producers are situated in the region, as example Sichuan Jian Nan Chun (Group), Sichuan Yibin Wuliangye Distillery, and Sichuan Tuopai Yeast Liquor. Southwestern consumers are price-sensitive, however, demand is increasing for more sophisticated products. Wuliange led sales of alcoholic beverages in China by focusing on medium-end wine brands, which proved to be in high demand in the region. Demand for domestic products in the region is declining, because of the entry of international brands.
There is a general preference towards lower-alcohol products, like beer and wine, in this region. Prices of beer brands remain stable in the south, although some brands have tried to increase sales by offering “buy-3-get-1-free” promotions.
With its colder climate, so most consumers like to consume spirits. Tsingtao Brewery’s brand Hans, which is produced in the region, led volume sales of alcoholic beverages, as it was preferred by consumers for its heavier taste. Competition between domestic and imported products is high. The imported brand Budweiser led sales within on-trade mediums, but the domestic Hans brand continued to lead overall beer sales in the region.
Northern and Northeastern China
Like other regions in China, Northern and Northeastern China has also experienced an increase in sales of grape wine, non-grape wine and low-alcohol beer, in response to the growing health trend. Some of the preferred low-alcohol brands include, Tsingtao, Blue Ribbon and Carlsberg. In addition, particularly in Beijing, interest is growing in Chinese Herbal Spirits, which are said to have various health benefits. The number of imported brands available in off-trade facilities has increased in the region, as specialty retail stores have brought the product to their consumers. Yanjing is the leading brand in the region. Foreign producers of spirits have increased their focus on the Chinese market, particularly in Beijing, which is helping to generate healthy competition.
Sales of alcohol increased at a constant rate in the Central region. International brands also grew as Western-style bars, karaoke, and nightclubs have become more popular and thereby increased demand. Central China’s market is still dominated by local brands and consumers in the region remain loyal to these brands.