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Top Wine Importing Countries Of China

08/08/2019

Wineries from Around the Globe are turning their Heads towards the Rapidly Growing Chinese Wine Industry.

The Chinese wine industry is booming, as its thirst for wine is outpacing the rest of the world. Over the years, the wine-drinking market in China has kept on increasing. What used to be a trend only during occasions, turned into gift-giving and slowly transformed into personal consumption and these levels are shooting up. 

The wine consumption in China is expected to rise by over one third to $23 billion throughout the following five years when it will reach a volume of 192 million cases.

The wine production in China is on a very minuscule level, and the Chinese usually prefer imported wines, causing the wine import levels in the country to shoot up yearly. In 2018, the imported wine in China was valued at approximately EUR 2.5 billion. ISWR has predicted that wine imports in China will increase by 8% in 2019. 

There are various reasons for the increase in wine imports in China - one being a shift in the consumer base. Wine drinking in China is moving towards a younger demographic, who end up being higher buyers and buy more, and are open to trying new things compared to an older demographic.

The e-commerce sector in China is expanding quickly, with online shopping being one of the topmost contenders to push this sector - online wine buys being one of them. A lot of the younger generation prefers buying imported wine online, therefore also being a reason for the increase in imports.

Let's take a tour of some of the leading wine importing countries of China. 

France

French wines are Chinese consumers’ number one go-to source but its reputation is at risk - “getting a bit tired,'' as Alberto Fernandez from Torres China says.

Although France remains China’s biggest imported wine source, its lead over Australia is narrowing down - particularly as its import volume and value are both declining, though its market share stands at 39.7% - still ahead of Australia’s 27.1%.

China is France’s third-biggest export market. The overall sales of French wine and spirits in 2018 subsequently dropped by 14.4% in value to €1 billion, as indicated by the most recent figures released by The Federation for Wine and Spirit Exporters (FEVS)

Statistics: China’s import volume for imported wines counts up to 173.83 million liters (-21.06%) % the import value for imported wines is calculated to be US$1.058 billion (-3.08%).

Australia

Australia's situation in China was improved in 2018 as its pace increased during an otherwise unfavorable economic environment. China remains its most profitable export market, and figures from Wine Australia prove it. 

During 2018, Australian imports to China raised by 5.41% in value year-on-year to US$723.25 million, and its import volume expanded by an additional 11.83% to 119.3 million liters. Beginning from 2019 January, China has eradicated all import duties on Australian items, further clearing obstacles for its development. 

“Managing expectation is probably one of the biggest challenges I see – all countries are focused on China and therefore competition will continue to be intense,” said David Lucas, regional manager for Greater China at Wine Australia in an interview with dbHK.

“We will stick to our core strengths and continue our aggressive activity programmes thanks to the Australian Government’s A$50m package.”

Statistics: Australia’s import volume for imported wines counts up to 119.3 million liters (+11.83%) & import value for imported wines is calculated to be US$723.25 million (+5.41%).

Chile

Chile has a solid growth momentum - all thanks to its wine’ competitive prices, its Free Trade Agreement and active campaigns and promotions across mainland China. In 2018, Chile ranked as China’s third-biggest wine importer - with 74.6 million liters of wine worth about US$269.7 million.

Statistics: Chile’s import volume for imported wines counts up to 74.67 million liters (+0.01%) & import value for imported wines is calculated to be US$269.7 million (0.47%).

Italy

Italy saw a rise in its average import price and managed to grow its value in 2018 despite a largely unchanged import volume. During 2018, China imported US$168.4 million worth of Italian wines totaling 36.03 million liters. Its rank moved up by one spot, leaving it with an overall market share of 6.3%.

Statistics: Italy’s import volume for imported wines counts up to 36.03 million liters (0%) & import value for imported wines is calculated to be US$168.4 million (+4.92%).

Spain

Spain's positioning slid from fourth in 2017 to fifth in 2018, mostly influenced by a drop in volume. Import volume during the year declined by 13.75% to 61.2 million liters for a sum of US$162.1 million worth of wine, taking up about 6.1% market share.

Its average import cost for bottled wines positions as the least among all nations at US$2.65 per liter.

Statistics: Spain’s import volume for bottled wines counts up to 61.2 million liters (-13.75%) & import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$162.1 million (+3.19%).

USA

It doesn’t come as a surprise that American wine imports to China endured a drop in value in 2018.

The reason behind suffering the drop was the tit-for-tat China-US trade war after China raised import tariffs on American wines. China raised 39% import tariffs on American wines compared with the more regular 14% in retaliation to similar moves by the Trump administration.

Compared to 2017, the import value of the US declined by 5.22% to US$75.5 million in 2018 - while its import volume advanced to 12.8 million liters, up by 10.62% year-on-year, recommending a drop in average import cost.

Surely, the average import cost per liter plunged by 14% to US$5.01. The US market share in China still stays under 3% at 2.8%.

Statistics: The US import volume for bottled wines counts up to 12.8 million liters (+10.62%) & import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$75.5 million (-5.22%).

South Africa

In 2018, the biggest development in the import market of China amongst all countries was seen by South Africa. This was because South Africa reinforced its promotional campaigns in the region with tastings in major mainland cities and Hong Kong.

Its import volume moved up by 17.58% in 2018 compared with 2017 with 9.8 million liters, while its value expanded considerably further to US$32.9 million, a 32.4% year-on-year increase.

Its overall positioning anyway stays unaltered as 2017.

Statistics: South Africa’s import volume for bottled wines counts up to 9.8 million liters (+17.58%) & import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$32.9 million (+32.42%).

New Zealand

New Zealand's ranking in China’s import market dropped one spot in 2018 compared to 2017, as both its volume and value dropped during the year.

Its import volume dropped by 8.46% year-on-year to 2.52 million liters, and subsequently, its value also declined by 2.09% to US$28.77 million.

While its import esteem anyway remains the highest among all nations at US$11.4 per liter, its market share in China stands at 1.1%.

Statistics: New Zealand’s import volume for bottled wines counts up to 2.52 million litres (-8.46%)& import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$28.77 million (-2.09%).

Argentina

Argentina’s ranking in 2018 for imported bottled wines climbed up one spot as China’s ninth biggest import country. The country’s import value saw a notable increase of 17.58% year-on-year to US$26.18 million during 2018 for 5.23 million liters of wine. This was because of a 14% increase in the average import price of US$5.1 per litre.

Its market share however is limited, clocking at 1%, same as Germany.

Statistics: Argentina’s import volume for bottled wines counts up to 5.23 million litres (+2.98%)& import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$26.18 million (+17.58%).

Germany

Among the top 10 importers, the two countries that saw double-digit growth - both in volume & value are Germany and South Africa in 2018. 

During 2018, Germany exported 5.17 million liters of wine to China - worth about US$25.8 million, signaling a jump for the nation as it had dropped out of the best 10 in 2017's ranking.

Statistics: Germany’s import volume for bottled wines counts up to 5.17 million litres (+12.44%)& import value for bottled wines is calculated to be US$25.8 million (+23.85%).

To refer the statistics, click here.

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