How to: Market Wine to Chinese Consumers

Market Wine

There are six groups of wine drinkers in China based on consumption behaviorsTo better target each consumer segment, businesses work with Mersol & Luo to adjust their importing and marketing strategies accordingly. 

Chinese Consumer Groups: Traits and Preferences

The Social Newbies

Social Newbies are those who are new to wines, they are beginning to explore and learn about wine and view it as an
interesting beverage during social occasions. This group is the biggest consumer segment, representing 26% of Chinese wine drinkers. These consumers tend to pick low-priced vintages as they are wanting to try a variety of
options and may have less disposable incomes compared to other segments.

Since most of the Social Newbies are young adults, companies should come out with fresh ideas to cater to this demographic. Packages with more innovative and unique designs, such as bright colors and bold logos, that focus on the individualism of the wine are more attractive to this group compared to the classic-style wine packaging.

The Developing Drinkers

The Developing Drinkers are on track to become the future generation of premium wine connoisseurs in the
country, accounting for 22 percent of China’s wine drinking population. They choose entry-level to mid-tier priced wine to enjoy while they relax. Unlike the Social Newbies, they are more aware of what taste profiles they prefer but
remain experimental and open-minded. This group and the Social Newbies are the growing and increasingly influential segments. Associated social status is less valuable to them, instead, they prioritize quality, service and value.

This segment tends to be heavily influenced by their peers’ purchasing decisions and utilizing technology to research wines online. Many winemakers have started to recognize this behavior and as a result they are putting more effort into establishing Chinese social media presence, online marketing campaigns and online stores.

The Adventurous Connoisseurs

These wine aficionados account for the nine percent of the wine drinkers in China. They are typically high-income consumers who pursue high-end brands. These people are confident in their wine knowledge, having a broad grasp of countries and regions of origin, as well as varietals and brands.

The Adventurous Connoisseurs are frequently seen attending tasting exhibitions to try imported and local wines. Although representing a small portion of the overall market, they are willing to spend a lot of money on their interest. No wonder, this group is the focus of select, high-end vineyards from the New World (US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina).

Aside from wine tasting events, companies may opt to appeal to this group by banding together with local wineries and conducting tours. Brand loyalty is low in this group, so winemakers should offer competitive loyalty programs featuring freebies and appreciation gifts to keep them engaged and turn them into loyal customers for years.

The Prestige-Seeking Traditionalists

This segment makes up 18 percent of the wine drinkers in the country, mostly made up of middle-aged and elderly consumers, who drink wine for its perceived health benefits. The Health Sippers are a price-conscious group and prefer entry-level to mid-tier wines.

To this day, a huge number of the Chinese population cite health functions as their primary reason for drinking wine. The trend for health and wellness remains strong in the country, creating opportunities for specialty wines, particularly natural, organic and fortified ones. Wineries targeting this group should highlight that their wines are nature-friendly, use fewer synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, etc.

The Health Sippers

This segment makes up 18 percent of the wine drinkers in the country, mostly made up of middle-aged and elderly consumers, who drink wine for its perceived health benefits. The Health Sippers are a price-conscious group and prefer entry-level to mid-tier wines.

To this day, a huge number of the Chinese population cite health functions as their primary reason for drinking wine. The trend for health and wellness remains strong in the country, creating opportunities for specialty wines, particularly natural, organic and fortified ones. Wineries targeting this group should highlight that their wines are nature-friendly, use fewer synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, etc.

The Frugal Occasionals

These are the infrequent wine drinkers, mostly drinking during special occasions. They are not very engaged, have limited knowledge of wine, and are usually older. When purchasing wine, they opt for the low-priced ones while seeking out promotional offers. To appeal to this group, businesses should consider selling wine in smaller, cheaper bottles. The trend they are driving single serve and ready to drink wine formats such as pouches and bag-in-box.

 

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to the wine market in China, opportunities for foreign wineries to import are large and ever expanding. Establishing a clear market development strategy with Mersol & Luo with a focus on unique behaviors of Chinese consumers is not only important, but necessary.

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