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Martell keeps premium focus on China

Martell Cognac is pinning its hopes on recruiting new high-end consumers in China, despite the country’s crash in Cognac consumption in recent years.

Charles de Belenet, Martell marketing director (Photo: Martell)

The company says the situation in China has now “stabilised” since the government crackdown on luxury gifting and conspicuous consumption.

It also claims that the drinking habits in China and Asia have “matured” enough to be able to win over new consumers who drink in “high energy occasions” such as in nightclubs or during meals.

“We strongly believe in China’s potential for growth in the long term,” said Charles de Belenet, marketing director at the Pernod Ricard-owned brand, in an interview with db.

“The situation has now stabilised and since the Chinese new year the market has been heading back to growth, particularly in the private sector.

“Consumers have matured in terms of their consumption habits, drinking more Cognac in high energy occasions, such as in nightclubs, or with friends in modern on-trade channels, including during meals.”

However, he admitted that business gifting is “unlikely to come back as a significant driver” of sales.

This year, Martell has been celebrating its 300th anniversary, rolling out a series of promotional activities and special bottlings around the world, including its £9,000 Premier Voyage expression.

“Our Tricentenaire activities in Asia were an opportunity to focus on the off trade and Travel Retail, which is particularly important for targeting the Chinese travellers,” de Belenet said.

Africa is also being market as a driver of premium growth. It is a “key market for us in terms of ultra-premium product selling as the cognac category shows an exciting double digit growth since 2010”, he continued.

The interview with Charles de Belenet will form part of the luxury spirits feature in the December issue of the drinks business.

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