REPORT: CHINA HAS 33M REGULAR DRINKERS, ATTITUDES MORE MATURED
By David Ma
China has some 33 million regular drinkers who consume imported wines every month, according to the China Portraits 2019 report released by Wine Intelligence. The report also found that the Chinese drinkers are maturing showing attitudes in line with other developed wine markets.
Despite recent falls in imported wine volumes, the report said China remains a wine market with great potential with an urban mid-to-high income population of around 112m.
It is said that just under half (about 56m) of the mid-to-high income group are drinking imported wines at least twice a year, among them about 33m are drinking on monthly basis and can be classified as regular drinkers.
Though the number of regular drinkers has stalled compared to the last China Portrait report in 2017, the Chinese market appears to be maturing and is starting to see consumer behaviours and attitudes similar to other developed world wine market.
According to the report, those who drink wine mainly for medicinal purpose (aka ‘Health Sippers’) – now accounts for the smallest consumer segment in the China market.
Another sign of a maturing market is that China now has more knowledgeable and involved consumers.
The previously “Prestige-seeking Traditionalists” – affluent consumers who only drink red wine and equate high price with quality – have now evolved.
Some of this group are now showing behaviours of “Engaged Explorers”, a newly identified segment in 2019, who are equally high-spending but explore more frequently and often beyond traditional wine categories.
The rest of the “Prestige-seeking Traditionalists” have evolved into “Status Seekers”, these are those who drink wine to show their social status and don’t mind spending more on a bottle of wine. These “Status Seekers” are more adventurous than their predecessors and drink wine from a more fashionable, niche repertoire.
Then there is the addition of the “Mainstream Casuals” segment – those who have adopted a wine drinking culture, drinking wine for pleasure and have discovered the wine they like.
However, “Social Newbies” still represent the largest group of consumers in China, just as it did in 2017. They are the youngest drinkers, typically at the start of their careers, who are yet to develop their interest in wine.
The segment of “Frugal Occassionals” almost remain unchanged, these are the low frequency drinkers who are typically motivated by ‘the price being right’ and are less motivated by the wine category.
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)
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