In a big market full of niche products such as wine,  China is among the most lucrative and fragmented market in the world. China is the third-largest market for red wine consumption in the world, and with the increasing number of red wine consumers, it is expected to surpass France in 2021, becoming the second-largest red wine consumption market in the world.

Thanks to its lower alcohol content and perceived wholesomeness, wine is increasingly appreciated by Chinese consumers, who are slowly approaching a product that in 2016 still represented only 5% of total alcohol consumption. The potential, as shown by the increase in import volumes of 18% in 2017, is enormous. 

In terms of import value, the amount of Chinese wine imports in December 2018 was US$302.3 million with a year-on-year decrease of 23.3%.

Wine Market Overview

France, Australia, Chile are in the top 3

In China, the Wine market is leading by France.  French wine accounts for about 30% of China’s imported wine in 2018, French wine has dominated in China for a long time. Followed by Australia and Chile. Although, the top three wine exporters are still France, Australia and Chili, in 2019, the rank has changed a little. 

According to the figures released by CAWS, Australia exported US$ 277.5 million of wine to the country during the first four months of 2019, representing 34.1% of market share while France’s market share shrunk to 28.8%.

France with its 44.7 million litres of bottled wines exported to China. In terms of export sales value, compared with the same period last year for a total of US$234 million, it has declined by 37.3% year-on-year. 

Chile came on third. Performance by South Africa in 2019 was discouraging as well, with a 32.9% drop in value and 57.92% drop in volume. But even though, Chili is the third biggest wine exporter to China.

The Chinese wine consumer

The fundamental difference between competitors lies in the strategy. Very often, the error committed by promoting products made in Italy, in general, is to assume that they sell themselves.

The fact is that the Chinese consumer, although more mature and informed compared to a few years ago, is still not fully aware of the value of certain product categories.

Just think about the fact that in some Chinese fairs the division of the stands is simply between “old world” and “new world”. Where in the first fall together Italy, France, Spain and so on, and in the second one Australia, Chile, United States, etc.

How to sell your Wine in China?

E-brochure of The Wine Hub on WeChat

The Chinese consumer, we must remember, is far different from the Western one in the process of choice and purchase.

In the first place, as already highlighted, it is necessary to understand their cultural background and must be informed and localized differently in order to suit the Chinese wine market.

Secondly, through different channels.

Branding is the beginning of the success

Branding is a crucial issue, not just for the world of wine. If you want to enter the Chinese market, a brand cannot do without marketing. Until a few years ago it was still possible to find an importer or distributor for their wines that were willing to promote them on the territory.

Today the market is much more competitive and margins tend to fall. Potential partners before entering into an agreement are thoroughly informed about the Company before accepting the distribution of the products.

Having a good reputation is a must

The Chinese population read articles on specialized sites, visit forums on the topic, and take great care in reviews. Used to confronting themselves in a market full of counterfeits, they are very wary.

For this reason, it is important to pay attention to your online reputation if you want to do wine marketing in China. Before proceeding with the purchase, consumers are therefore used to carry out extensive checks on the winery, its products and what is said in the sector

Digital is important for selling wine in China

In order to make wine marketing in China, it is very important to know the various types of wine consumers and to position their products on the market based on the target to be achieved.

Chinese are very convinced that the wine is good, especially now that the baijiu (one of the most popular traditional alcoholic beverages in the country) is considered harmful to health, especially if it exceeds consumption during meals.

Many websites and radio stations have spread the opinion that one glass of wine a day is good for health, supporting this thesis based on the results of various studies.

Digital marketing is key to your success in selling wine in China

The Chinese are much more open than us to new technologies. The most effective way to present a product is to resort to the use of videos or captivating photos, and this also applies to wines. Here are some examples:

  • Chapoutier: has published video content related to the history of its founder. The image return has been remarkable.
  • Moët & Chandon: focuses on the image and relies on designers for the splendid posters of its stores.

An e-commerce platform is your portal

Chinese e-commerce is booming. Tmall, one of the most popular platforms, in a short time has become a real giant and attracts millions of users. Usually, the wines distributed by Tmall are often produced by very popular brands, or they are “low-cost” products.

In the last period, however, they are gradually establishing other platforms specialized in online sales of wines such as yesmywine.com or winekee.com. Vertical channels, which recall conscious consumers, on which it is easy to find high-end products and great quality.

Wine and Social Network

Communication in China cannot be separated from social channels. As of the first quarter of 2020, about 904 million people had access to the internet in China, resulting in a fast-growing e-commerce market in the country.

Chinese people connect to the web to learn, chat and finalize purchases. It is therefore clear that a company interested in promoting its products must necessarily also be present on social networks.

The main ones are Weibo and WeChat. The important thing is to have an official account and to be able to communicate through a language aligned with Chinese tastes and culture, which is very different from ours. To be transformed into potential customers, followers must be involved with original and interactive content. Corporate communication in China has little appeal.

GMA Case Study: Fancy Cellar

Fancy cellar

The French Cellar imports French wines directly from reputable vineyards. All the wines are delivered with wine tasting notes, written by their prestigious sommelier for Chinese consumers to learn more about the wines, winemakers and local culture & geography in France.

Solutions for their wine e-reputation
  • SEO 
  • PR 
  • Community Management
Results:
  • Exposure to 1 million people
  • 25 events
  • 50% of keywords on 1st page

 

KOL’s importance in wine e-commerce

KOLs in China are indispensable figures for brand promotion. Prominent figures with millions of followers, who in the main Chinese social networks advise the public what to use and buy. Xiaohongshu is a very important platform for KOL’s marketing.

Chinese consumer, unlike the Western one, does not find direct sales annoying, indeed, very often the research. It is not uncommon to find within the channels of the KOL direct links to e-commerce of certain products they sponsor.

This is why, for a product still largely unknown as wine, it is imperative to have a suitable testimonial that tells its value to the general public.

If you want to know more in detail about China’s wine market and how can Chinese social networks help to sell wine successfully, contact Gentlemen Marketing Agency and prepare yourself to succeed!

Read also: