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China wine market returns to rapid growth

After two years of slowing wine sales in China, customs data from the last nine months shows that the rapid rate of growth is back.

Speaking at ProWine China last week, Richard Halstead from Wine Intelligence initially drew on IWSR statistics to show how China went from a fast-growing market for wine from 2010 to 2011, before peaking in 2012 and then falling during the past two years.

“In 2012 the market got to 30 million cases of imported wine and 142m of domestic, but the market has been declining ever since,” he said, as shown in the bar chart, bottom.

However, having obtained Chinese customs data for wine covering the last nine months from January to September, he highlighted a return to the rapid growth rate rates before the start of president Xi Jingping’s austerity drive, which began more than 18 months ago.

“The growth is back, we’ve seen around a 50% year-on-year volume increase and 30% value increase,” Halstead recorded.

Explaining to some extent the greater gain in volume compared to value, Halstead drew attention to the huge growth in bulk wine imports.

“Bulk wine has more or less doubled in the 9 month period compared to the previous year,” he stated, noting a 100% increase to 98m litres (which is equivalent to 10.9m nine-litre cases).

Bottle wine meanwhile has risen 39% in volume, while sparkling wine has continued to decline, and fell by 7% in volume compared to the same period in 2014 (see figures below).

Halstead wasn’t able to provide the same 2015 data to show the sales trend in domestic wine sales – a category that has been hit the hardest by China’s crackdown on state spending, such as banqueting among government officials.

China wine imports (January-September 2015)

                       Volume (litres)          Year-on-year       Value ( US$)                  Year-on-year

Bottled wine           298m (33m cases)                 +39%                   1,375m                          +35%

Bulk wine               98m (10.9m cases)                 +100%                  68m                               +51%

Sparkling               10m (1.1m cases)                   -7%                       48m                               -27%

Total                       406m (45.1m cases)              +48%                   1,491m                          +32%

Imported and domestic wine consumption in China (2010-2014). Supplied by Wine Intelligence. Data source: IWSR

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