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Entry-level is an emerging opportunity for wine producers seeking exports to China - report

Published:  13 July, 2015

The slowdown in the Chinese economy and government austerity and anti-corruption measures are creating an opportunity for producers of entry-level and mid-priced wines, a new China Wine Market Landscape Report from Wine Intelligence has revealed.

The market for imported wine continues to grow [+5% in 2013, IWSR] but average prices paid for a bottle of wine in both the on- and off-trade environments have fallen, creating the space for cheaper wines to thrive.

The country's crackdown on lavish business lunches has seen the average price paid for such occasions fall from the equivalent of US$83 to US$77 in the past year. For informal meals at home the fall in average spend is even more dramatic, from US$37 to US$26. One in 10 wine drinkers say that high prices are the number one barrier to buying imported wine.

Wine Intelligence believes an influx of younger consumers into the market will create opportunities for quality everyday wines that offer good value for money. Consumers aged between 18 and 29 already account for four out of 10 consumers of imported wines and this age group are almost twice as likely than 40 to 54-year-olds to buy wine from discount supermarkets.

France and Bordeaux remain the most sought after labels for imported wine purchasers, but the Wine Intelligence report shows that younger consumers are less likely to buy-in to traditional regions.

Chile, Australia and New Zealand are among the countries best-placed to make the most of the changing opportunities as their countries have free-trade agreements with China.

Richard Halstead, chief operating officer of Wine Intelligence, said: "Although total consumption is in decline, imported wines are still in growth and there is the potential for more to come given the sheer size of the Chinese market. But the game-changing government policies and shifting economics mean that new opportunities are being created.

"The wine consumers of the future are as likely to look for excellent quality at keen prices from the New World as they are prestige wines from major European regions. Wine exporters who want to do business with China need to factor these trends in to the strategies."

Despite the pressures that have slowed down imported wine growth, China remains the fifth most attractive market for wine producers to do business in based on general economic and wine market measures - and it is the top ranking of all the current high growth emerging markets. There is still plenty of room for growth with per capita consumption less than half that of South Korea.