By looking at Chinese history – in the past, drinking in China was mostly associated with social occasions or business dinners. But today, with economic development, the drinking culture and lifestyle in the West has gradually been brought to China. Chinese are now more likely to connect drinking with personal occasions and use alcohol to relax, have fun or to indulge themselves.
Besides Baijiu – a dominating local spirit of China, there are increasing opportunities for international brands to grow and expand in the upcoming years.
Alcoholic drinks are now ordered online in China –
The future alcoholic beverage market will be a bit more diverse online in China
While imported spirits are not normally part of the Chinese culture, certain changes in the consumers’ lifestyle have begun. China’s middle-class population is rising and with increasing incomes, many people are able to afford foreign brands of alcohol. At the heart of this development is the rise of the country’s luxury consumer base in the urban population.
Spirits such as whiskey and cognac have seen their popularity grow at a higher rate than expected over the last year. Whiskey proved most popular in Shanghai with around 6.85 million liters, worth US$59 million, consumed in the city during the last period, far ahead of Beijing, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian provinces.
The fact is, that in China, 6.5% of off-premise sales of all alcoholic drinks are now ordered online. Chinese internet users, of which there are reported to be 800 million, have been “quick to embrace the advent of e-commerce”. The explosion in smartphone use, social media apps, and mobile e-commerce have facilitated this shift in buying habits.
The analyst concluded: “The shift to digital platforms will change the alcoholic drinks landscape forever, providing a marketplace for a plethora of brands and concepts that are no longer reliant on winning shelf space from a few major retail chains.”
At whom your spirit brand should focus on in China?
Chinese consumers now have different requirements for various types of alcohol. They are becoming “more professional” and have a better understanding of different drinks. For example, more consumers have begun to sample different types of beer, or know how to appreciate and evaluate beer, not just merely drink it as a companion to food.
The Chinese drinking population is becoming younger. More young people are drinking for personal/casual consumption. They are more adventurous, exploring new tastes. Although more spirits consumers in China are male, the number of female drinkers has been steadily increasing.
Chinese women are drinking more alcohol, with a preference for sweet and sparkling wine, according to industry insiders.
The sales of both imported wines have risen much faster than the industry average.
Sales of beer have also been steadily rising, especially high-quality or niche products such as imported and craft beer. As a matter of beers, Chinese women prefer fruit beer, a non-alcoholic beer, with the growth of all these exceeding the industry average.
As women become more independent economically, they are more willing to consume alcohol. In recent years, a Western-style drinking culture has had an impact on Chinese women. Unlike many European women who like alcoholic drinks with strong flavors, most Chinese females prefer sweet, low-alcohol drinks.
How Can Foreign Brands Win China’s Spirits Market?
The changing consumer landscape is brimming with opportunities for imported brands.
To break into this niche market, having a reliable marketing plan is a must.
Western alcohol culture is becoming popular among the younger generation, and the rise of e-commerce platforms (e.g., Taobao, JD, etc.) enable western spirits brands to enter China’s alcoholic beverage market more easily.
Imported Wine & spirits are both a gift and a wealth sign. It’s an opportunity for imported spirits brands. But breaking into the alcohol market is definitely not easy and there are many obstacles concerning the exporting/importing process. But it’s never impossible if you partner with a marketing agency like Gentlemen Marketing Agency who knows how to do it.
What you need?
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Contact us to get started and get one of our spiriti expert, share idea, speak about your project and get on your Best Option for Selling on the Chinese Market.