Hong Kong is Australia’s fifth largest export market. The region relies heavily on imports, with 95% of its food and beverage products shipped from other countries. It is second only to China in the list of Australia’s biggest markets for premium wines. In 2017, wine export volume from Down Under reached 8 million liters, valued at US$107 million.
With wine sold at US$13.33 per liter, Hong Kong is a high-value market for vintages from Australia. Wine producers often travel to the region, as it is often the host of regional trade shows, including the Vinexpo Hong Kong and Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. It is also a major alcoholic beverage trading hub for re-exports into the Mainland, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam and Japan.
The Sales Channels
In Hong Kong, Australian wines are offered in many local hotels and restaurants. There is also a wide selection available in major supermarkets, where products are usually brought directly from selected overseas suppliers. Local convenience stores mostly rely on import agents for their share.
Meanwhile, online sales of Australian wine in the region has been growing, with dry reds as the dominant category. The varietal made up about 88% of bottles sold in all of China. In 2017, there was also an increase in purchases of sweet and dry whites. High-quality wines are often purchased online for gift giving – a tradition that is still very much present in Hong Kong.
Trends and Opportunities
The changing lifestyles and more frequent international travels have made most of the Hong Kongers savvy. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, they are eager to learn about new trends. In 2017, over 17% of Hong Kong’s imported wines came from Australia. The vintages are recognized by the consumers for their consistent quality and regional identities.
Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling are popular varietals in the region, but the drinkers have diversified tastes. Bio-dynamic, natural, vegan-friendly, organic and sustainable wines have been recently gaining attention. Most consumers are looking for specialty products, something that are exciting and not too mainstream.
Australian wines have built a strong presence in the Hong Kong market. The region’s wealthy population of more than 7.4 million are thirsty for its higher value vintages. While this is a prime opportunity for many wine producers, competition is stiff so they need to plan accordingly to boost brand awareness and establish their presence in the market.