Gifting still driving wine sales in China

Gifting remains the driving force behind wine sales growth in China, according to research by Wine Intelligence.

In a seminar entitled ‘Five things you need to know about doing business in China, Japan and South Korea’ held at ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany, the strategy consultancy attributed the Chinese wine market's CAGR (compound annual growth rate during 2006-2010) of 25% largely to the culture of gifting between employees and from business to business.

The celebrations of New Year, Chinese New Year and Mid Autumn Festival provide the major occasions for gifting in the Chinese calendar.

Wine Intelligence’s project manager, Maria Troein, reported a current trend that has seen Chinese companies buying “huge inventories” of wine in “one-off deals” for purposes of staff gifting.  

Troein also said the that wine sold in pairs or in red packaging is viewed as ”auspicious” by Chinese consumers.

But while gifting remains the market driver, Wine Intelligence warned that wine needs to become “a default choice” among consumers and not just a “special occasion” or a ”status” choice.

In other advice for wine companies, Wine Intelligence said potential Asian consumers could be “met” online.

Its research found 69% of Chinese and 77% of South Korean wine consumers  use the internet as a source of wine information, as opposed to 39% of consumers in the UK and 44% in Germany.

Troein said that in-store recommendations and printed media were not necessarily trusted sources in China and South Korea and that websites allowed browsing without consumers exposing themselves as lacking in knowledge.