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IWSR predicts China’s wine imports to grow 8% in 2019

While China has yet to release official figures on 2018’s annual wine imports, research institute IWSR has predicted that the country’s wine imports will increase by 8% next year, despite China’s slowing economy and uncertainties of a US-China trade war.

© Rob Koenig-Luck/ABC News

The projected increase is a result of a shifting consumer base, as it argues that more younger consumers will be converting to wine drinking, while older consumers will switch to wine for its perceived health benefits.

The country’s expanding e-commerce is another factor driving sales of good value wines, and is expected to further boost wine market growth.

In addition, as the country grows wealthier, wine is going to benefit from a trend where people opt for display of knowledge rather than ostentatious spending as a status signifier.

Although the market is still dominated by baijiu, the IWSR believes wine is the strongest contender to challenge baijiu’s position in the long term.

Growth for domestic Chinese wine, on the other hand, is a different story. Local still wine will drop by 6.8% over 2018-2022 to 66.8 million cases, in line with reports on the country’s declining production volume each year.

“Growth levels seen over the last three years are probably not sustainable and some sort of pause or slowdown is likely,” said the IWSR.

“There is talk of excessive stock build-ups. Penetrating the huge traditional restaurant channel will be difficult as restaurants can be reluctant to invest in the necessary glassware and storage.”

Earlier, a joint report by China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) and Chinese research firm ExactData warned of smaller profit growths for wine sales next year, amidst slowing economic growth and ongoing China-US trade war, after surveying 79 large-scale wine companies in China and collected data on both offline sales and online sales over a period of five months.

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