China on track to be No 6 in global wine consumption

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am

China's wine consumption, which doubled between 2005 and 2009, is expected to increase by another 20 per cent by 2014, making it the world's sixth-largest wine consumer.

The mainland and Hong Kong consumed 1.156 billion bottles of wine in 2009, 104 per cent more than 2005, according to wine exhibition organiser Vinexpo.

A Vinexpo study said consumption would climb to 1.38 billion bottles by 2014 as more mainlanders show interest in natural beverages rather than spirits.

The projected growth for China translates into more than six times the global average. Vinexpo predicted total wine consumption would rise 3.18 per cent between 2009 and 2014. Globally, 31.51 billion bottles of wine were consumed in 2009, a scant 4.5 per cent increase over 2005.

'Nothing can stop China,' said Vinexpo chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre. 'It's a large market and per-capita consumption is still tiny.'

He added that China could become one of the top three wine consumers in the next decade amid rising incomes. Per capita consumption of wine in China stood at 0.9 litres in 2010, compared with more than 50 litres in France.

Eizaguirre said the forecast for the China market might in fact turn out to be conservative.

'It could grow faster in the coming years but it could take some time,' he said. 'Drinking and eating habits don't change overnight.'

The size of the wine market in Hong Kong and the mainland will jump 31.5 per cent to US$6 billion by 2014, according to Vinexpo.

Growth in the consumption of spirits, on the other hand, is set to slow on the mainland and Hong Kong. Vinexpo estimates a 3.8 per cent increase between 2010 and 2014, compared with 52 per cent in the previous five years.

China's rising affluence has changed the global consumer market as middle-class mainlanders splash out on luxury goods and expensive food and beverages.

Brokerage CLSA said in a report that demand for luxury goods and travel from Greater China would account for 44 per cent of global sales by 2020, up from the current 15 per cent.

China is set to become the world's largest market for luxury goods over the next decade with an annualised growth of 23 per cent. 'As incomes rise, China's burgeoning middle class is adopting previously unattainable high-end lifestyles and is transitioning from a saving to spending culture,' CLSA said in the report.

Multinational luxury goods companies are aggressively expanding in China to tap the soaring demand that will account for half of their global growth in the next 10 years.

For foreign wine producers, Chinese people's increasing interest in the beverage would also create a new growth engine. In 2009, imported wines represented 14.7 per cent of China's total consumption. Vinexpo said demand for middle- and high-end wines priced over US$10 per bottle was expected to jump 104 per cent between 2009 and 2014 in China.