The active growth of wine culture in China began with the abolition of duties on wine in Hong Kong in 2008. Wine consumption was already on the rise at that time, and in 2010 China drank 15.1 million hectoliters of wine. However, already in 2013, the Chinese government imposed a ban on advertising expensive gifts and urged its citizens to be more economical and avoid waste. After the law was passed, the sales of imported wine suffered greatly, as at that time imported wine was also a luxury product. However, by 2015, this figure rose again, this time by a record 42.4%, which exceeded the average global growth in wine consumption by 1.4%.
Current trends in the wine market in China
Among imported wines, France is still the market leader, but its share is gradually decreasing, while wines from Chile, Australia, Spain and Italy are gaining popularity. However, the presence of wines from the United States in 2020 decreased significantly, due to the trade war between China and the United States.
The main consumers of wine in China live in large cities located in the north (led by Beijing), east (Shanghai) and south (Canton, Hong Kong). But in small towns and in western China, wine sales are struggling to gain momentum. Due to the rather hot climate (about +40 in summer), Canton and Shanghai are the main consumers of white wines in China, and spirits are more popular in South China.
How to do wine branding in China
Define target consumers
First of all, Doxaganda team will help to define the key consumer group in China. We can highlight several key categories of consumers in the wine market in China:
Healthy sippers – a category of wine drinkers who consume wine very moderately. They do not consume much, but prefer high quality wine.
Mainstream casuals – a category of wine drinkers who consider it as a fashionable and modern trend. Usually, this group includes Chinese millennials, who try to be closer to the Western culture.
Prestige-seeking traditionalists – a special category of consumers who prefer expensive and unusual wines, always in search of new flavors and aromas.
Status seekers – lovers of expensive branded wines that emphasize their status in society.
Social newbies – lovers of cheap but tasty drinks;
Frugal occasionals is a category of people who drink infrequently and choose wines from a low-price segment.
Understanding the behavior, preferences and habits of Chinese consumers is the first step to creating wine branding in China. According to British wine consultancy Wine Intelligence, prestige is the number one factor determining the attractiveness of a wine brand to Chinese consumers.
Create a brand image
For Chinese consumers, it is important that the brand has a history and a significant background. For example, France and Australia are known to Chinese consumers as producing countries of quality wine. For wine branding in China, Doxaganda team will help build the brand’s image and tell a story to the Chinese consumers.
Wine tastings are an important part of China’s wine branding. There are many tastings in major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Wine also has become part of guanxi (business relationship in China). Doxaganda team will help your brand with the organization of the tasting. It is also a great opportunity to meet people from the business community.
Chinese consumers are attentive to the wines they buy. Doxaganda team will help you find experts and sommeliers for wine branding in China who will help you gain consumer confidence.
Use social media
Social media is an important tool for wine branding in China. Doxaganda team will help you promote your wine brand account with quality content (photos, videos, etc.). In Chinese social networks, brands should not forget about QR codes. Many companies use QR codes on wine bottles to inform and engage the consumer in real time. In addition, many wine brands have a Sina Weibo and WeChat account, which allows them to interact with the brand’s public and receive feedback.
Many French wineries already have their own Weibo pages, which have tens of thousands of Chinese subscribers. Among the famous French wineries and associations in Chinese social networks are Château Brane-Cantenac, Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), Les Huit de Loire, JX Bordeaux, Moët & Chandon, Bergerac Group, Wines of Provence and Rhone Valley.
Embrace e-commerce for wine branding in China
E-commerce in China is booming. Platforms like Tmall, JD, Taobao are giants in this area with millions of users. The wines sold on these platforms are generally well-known brands or low-cost products. Professional wine e-commerce sites are also popular in china. For example, yesmywine.com, winekee.com, buyswine.com.
Product placement for wine branding in China can increase your brand awareness. This is a good way to target specific groups and leverage the implicit memory of potential customers.
An example is the wine brand Lafite. They invested in promotions on Chinese sitcoms. Now Laffitte has an image of the best red wine for celebrations.
Pay attention to local values and culture
For wine branding in China, it is important to take into account the local cultural context, to assess the special needs associated with cultural origins. Doxaganda team will help determine the true wine preferences of Chinese consumers. This factor can have a significant impact on the promotion of your wine brand nationwide and affect its success.
Find the right distributor
Finally, for wine branding in China, it is important to find a distributor who can promote your product. According to Chinese customs, there are about 4,000 different wine importers in China. However, most of them import small volumes. Therefore, it is crucial to find big distributors so that consumers will not ignore your wine brand.
Chinese distributors also differ in that they make more money on cheaper wine than on expensive bottles. As a result, they tend to view luxury wineries only as a way to enhance the profile of their overall portfolio, rather than as a source of profit.
What Doxaganda will provide for your wine branding in China
Doxaganda will help your brand to define target audience, increase awareness and promote it through different methods such as co-branding in China, product placement and online marketing.
To learn more about the methodology, contact our Doxaganda consultants in China.