REPORT: HONG KONG’S WINE BOOM HAS PEAKED, CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
The 10-year boom in Hong Kong’s wine import may have peaked, but growing local consumer engagement in wines will continue to push up value and broaden portfolios, according to the "Hong Kong Landscapes 2019" report released by industry think tank Wine Intelligence.
The year 2008 was a watershed for Hong Kong wine market, the report claimed, that year the Hong Kong government cut all taxes on wine imports to zero from 80%.
The Wine Intelligence report said the zero tax policy has transformed the Hong Kong wine market, from being limited and expatriate-oriented to becoming a trans-shipment point for the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.
“Since 2008, the autonomous region of China has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 15% by value and 5% by volume for the wine category – the average Hong Konger went from drinking 3.5 liters of still wine in 2008 to 5.3 liters in 2017,” the report said.
However, the report predicted that such a wine import boom may have peaked, further fast growths will be difficult to materialise. Despite this, it said Hong Kong wine consumers will continue to move up the value ladder and will continue to widen their horizons.
“In recent years, exports into China have peaked, with trade experts accrediting this to China gaining direct trade connections with wine producing regions. Perhaps because of this, the consensus amongst those in the supply chain is that Hong Kong’s position as the Asian redistribution center has reached a plateau after many years of substantial growth,” said the report.
“On the other hand, though, there has been a substantial change in consumer behaviour amongst Hong Kong wine drinkers, possibly due to the consequences of its wine trading status. While French wines continues to have a strong presence in the market, we are also seeing a steady growth of Australian wines, with about the third of Hong Kong wine drinkers reporting to have drunk it in the past 6 months. Other countries growing in the market include Italy, Chile and New Zealand,” the report added.
Among all categories, red wine continues to dominate the wine market in Hong Kong, with the overwhelming majority of drinkers claiming to have consumed this category over the past year.
It appears that there is some potential growth for white wine (particularly Sauvignon Blanc) and rosé as they are no longer considered to be just a summer wine by Hong Kong drinkers.
Sparkling wine is also gaining momentum, particularly for Champagne, with over half of Hong Kong wine drinkers claiming to have drunk it in the past year.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)
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