With a big market full of niche market such as wine, put China among the most lucrative and fragmented market in the world. With a growth of 19% over the last year, 2017 saw the value of Chinese wine imports reach 18.8 billion yuan or about 2.4 billion euros. Thanks to its lower alcohol content and perceived wholesomeness, wine are 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. But we must be able to exploit it.
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Wine Market Overview
France, Australia, Chile are in the top 3
In China, the Wine market is leading by France. With a value of € 973 million and an increase of 8%, even in 2017, France has dominated in China. Currently, its market share is about 40% of total imports, with 2.3 million hectoliters exported. Soon after, Australia and Chile. Australia, with a 38% growth in volumes (1.44 million of el exported), still surpassed Chile, which instead lost 11% in volume, exporting “only” 1.3 million hectoliters. Spain, with exports worth 171 million euros and a growth of 19%, exports about 1.34 million hectoliters a year. Italy, in the fifth position, has a very high export value (143 million euros), but very low volumes: only 375 thousand hectoliters exported yield a growth of 16% in quantitative terms.
The Chinese wine consumer
The fundamental difference between competitors lies in the strategy. Very often, the error that is 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 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?
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 does not have our own cultural background and must be informed and localized in a different way. 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 was 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 the 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
Focus on Digital
In order to make wine marketing in China, it is very important to know the various types of wine consumers and to position their product 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.
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 window
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
As anticipated in point 8, communication in China cannot be separated from social channels. We briefly recall that in China there are over 800 million users who daily 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
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.
- Community Management
- Exposure to 1 million people
- 25 events
- 50% of keywords on 1st page
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. 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.
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