China’s economic slowdown hit wine consumption in 2015 - study

The overall economic slowdown affected China’s wine consumption in 2015, but wine exports to the country increased, says a Vinexpo/IWSR study released in Beijing this week.

Image: 2015 Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter © Decanter

In 2015, an estimated 131.9m 9-litre cases of red wine were consumed in China, down by 7m cases versus 2014, and 16.8m cases less than 2013.

The reduction was due to a combination effect of China’s general economic slow-down, the stock market crash in August last year and the remaining impact of the government austerity measures, said Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo at a Beijing press conference ahead of Vinexpo Asia Pacific in Hong Kong in May 2016.

However, Chinese customs figures showed that during the first three quarters of 2015, both bottled and bulk wine imports appeared to have increased significantly in both volume and value.

While many took the customs data as a sign of recovery of the Chinese wine market, experts warned about the lower average price per bottle and said the sector was far from recovered.

‘The trend of wine consumption is always influenced by the economic environment of the country,’ said LI Demei, Chinese wine authority and DecanterChina.com columnist.

Wine consumption can’t grow on its own ‘while the overall economic development of China is not improving significantly’, said LI Demei.

In 2014, 80% of wines consumed in China were domestic wines, according to previously published Vinexpo/IWSR figures. The share of domestic wines is ‘sliding’ due to the competition posted by cheaper imported wines, the report said.

China (including the Hong Kong market) currently is the world’s fifth biggest wine consuming country, drinking 149.2 million cases (1.3bn Litres) of wine, according to the study.

Additional report by Maxime LU. Maxime is 2015 Decanter Asia Wine Awards Judge and founder of WineOnline.cn.

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