China is the most exciting market on the planet for the wine industry. Although Americans currently spend the most on wine, China is fast catching up with fast paced annual growth. From March 2017 to March 2018 the country imported AU$1.04 billion (US$808.4 million) worth of wine from Australia alone which accounted for nearly half of Australia’s total wine exports by value for those 12 months.
What makes the Chinese wine market especially exciting is that consumers in China are warmly embracing cutting-edge technology and world-leading ecommerce platforms. The wine market is changing faster here than anywhere else, making China the ideal market for wine brands and producers to try out new ideas and learn what the future holds for the industry.
Ecommerce is booming
China is home to the world’s largest ecommerce sites like Tmall and Taobao so it’s no surprise that wine sales are soaring on these platforms. According to the 2018 Tmall Wine and Wine Online Consumption Data Report, online wine trading for 2018 is expected to exceed 70 billion yuan (US$10.38 billion).
Large Chinese online retailers like JD.com are taking advantage of the fact that they already have a slick international supply chain system in place which allows them to easily ship wine direct from the vineyard right to the consumer. This highly efficient service is attractive both to consumers and wine brands who find it very easy to get their products to market.
The rise and rise of the luxury market
As well as the rapid developments with ecommerce, another key trend is the growing importance of the luxury market. JD.com lists Romanée-Conti, Pétrus and Château Lafite Rothschild for sale on its platform and over the 12 months preceding July 2018 42% of the site’s wine revenues were generated by wines priced at RMB 500 (US$72) and above.
JD.com has also recently started offering an especially luxurious service, their white glove delivery which is provided by suited couriers in pristine gloves. The service comes free with certain luxury goods and can be added for an additional fee to other items. This unique experience adds value to the site’s products and has proven very popular with consumers looking for a Downton Abbey-style butler service to deliver their fine wine.
By 2021 China is predicted to become the world’s largest market for wine. Chinese consumers have a tremendous appetite for wine and new technology, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the country is leading the way into the bright future of wine ecommerce and incorporation of the latest technology and systems into the wine market. Ambitious producers and wine brands now have more opportunities than ever before to sell in China and become part of the world’s most dynamic wine market.