Winedom has been following China’s wine scene for quite some time. There is more interesting news coming out of China that will be great for wine exports from other nations.
Wine Intelligence, a company dedicated to market research and trends, recently put out their first report on Chinese wine drinking habits since 2012 and they have found a serious shift in wine drinking habits among Chinese citizens.
In 2012 the drinking habits of the Chinese populace was simple: wealthy businessmen, their clients and staff, government officials with expense accounts and other moneyed citizens had a taste for good Bordeaux. Generally wine was drunk at business meetings and parties where people who could afford these bottles were in attendance. Things have changed since then..
The 2015 report shows that there is an emerging class of drinkers in China. Young professionals, urbanites in their 20’s and 30’s with professional occupations, are starting to drink wine. And they are interested in mainstream, entry-priced wines. Not the fancy Bordeaux but the regular, everyday bottle drunk by younger drinkers around the globe. This group of the population, dubbed “Developing Drinkers” in the report, is growing.
Why The Change In Buying Trends?
While the exact reasons for the shift in purchasing trends have not been tracked definitively, it is fairly likely that the following theories apply:
- As younger professionals make their way into the business world and climb the corporate ladder they are likely in attendance at business dinners where bottles are purchased for the table, getting them used to the taste of wine.
- Changing Cultural Attitudes: Our world population has become far more connected, especially with Western culture making its way into China via film, music, and the Internet. Chinese professionals are likely seeing their European, Australian, and American counterparts drinking wine and trying it out.
- Personal Consumption vs. Gifting Bottles:Add the first two together and you have a seriously shift. Rather than purchasing a bottle to impress a boss, Chinese professionals are being exposed to wine and due to westernization are incorporating wine into their own social lives thus they are buying bottles for personal use rather than impressing someone with it. They are more likely, then, to buy and explore based on their own tastes.
- Money Matters: When purchasing with their own money, rather than on a corporate account, Chinese professionals are more likely to seek mainstream wines with a much lower price point so that they can afford to drink wine on a regular basis.
What’s It Mean?
With growing trends in supermarket wine, cheaper wine, and even wine made at home, we are likely to see other wine markets besides Bordeaux, grappling to start exporting to areas of China where young professionals live and work in order to drive the market toward their own brands. Additionally, it is likely we will see Chinese vineyards add affordable wines on trend with what China’s Developing Drinkers are drinking in order to keep competition, and sales, in their favor.