Traditionally the Chinese market for imported wines has been dominated by upper class males who would gift or drink expensive Bordeaux or Burgundy wines with their colleagues and friends to show off their sophistication and cultural awareness. But today the typical Chinese wine consumer is far more likely to be young, middle class, and female as Chinese society continues to develop and evolve at a record pace. According to Wine Intelligence’s China Portraits report this rapidly-expanding sector of society, who have been termed Developing Drinkers, currently constitute approximately 19% of China’s total imported wine consumers.
Wine Intelligence’s report indicates that many of these young consumers are in their 20s and 30s and enjoy thriving careers. They may have first been exposed to imported wines and spirits at business dinners, but increasingly these young professionals are choosing to drink foreign wines at home and with their social circles.
Kirstin Hannon, Senior Market Analyst from Wine Australia, recently remarked that, “These younger consumers are particularly fond of buying wine from upscale imported food and convenience stores, which reflect their aspirational, modern, convenient city lifestyles.” Drinking wine, and especially imported wine, is regarded as a way to raise your social status and to enjoy the good things in life.
No Strings Attached
One key reason why these young Chinese consumers are able to access imported wines is they are free from financial constraints of having a mortgage or raising children. Kirstin Hannon added that, “Those aged under 35, growing up during a time of expanding wealth and without experience of contraction and hardship, are notably less price conscious than older generations.”
Jo Purcell, the Hong Kong-based managing director of Farr Vintners Asia, recently spoke about another aspect of this new interest in imported wine, the growing demand for wine education; “For some young working professionals, enrolling in a wine course is also an investment in their career and a way of mixing with people with money.” This trend of learning more about wine helps to drive yet more imported wine sales as young Chinese consumers gain yet more knowledge and appreciation of what is in their glass.
These young professionals tend to rely heavily on recommendations from others when making purchasing decisions. Appeal to this new and growing category of Chinese consumer is by entering the annual Chinese Wine & Spirits Awards which allows you to put your products in front of 100 of China’s most influential buyers who judge the competition each year.
Winning an award at the CWSA is a true mark of excellence for your product and sends a clear signal to younger consumers that your wines and spirits have been approved by a panel of influential wine experts.