Market segmentation allows companies to tailor their approaches to suit their target consumer groups. This way, companies will be able to grow their businesses in China with precise targeting and effective marketing.
China’s Beer Consumer Groups
This group is composed of younger Chinese consumers who drink beer for pleasure and enjoyment. Due to their increasing exposure to global trends, they have upended the age-old habits in China’s beer market. These drinkers are shunning away from their parents’ tried-and-tested pale lagers, instead, preferring the exotic and quirky ones that serve as extensions of their personality. They see drinking beer as a social opportunity and a way to relax after a long day or week.
The Explorers all types of brews, from dark ales to pale lagers, from foreign to local brands. Understandably, they are China’s largest consumers of beer. This group is constantly on the lookout for new styles and flavors. Recently, an increasing number of these drinkers are preferring beers with low alcohol or non-alcoholic content, or the so-called “healthier” brews. Meanwhile, brand loyalty is not strong among them. Companies need to present a distinct product image and message to get their attention.
They are China’s beer aficionados with a preference for artisan and specialty brews. This group strives to educate themselves on all aspects of the industry, from the brewing process to product unveiling and taste testing. These drinkers often act as opinion leaders and influencers, recommending and educating the community on which beers to try. They like attending tasting events and brewery tours. As with The Explorers, this group drinks beer as a way to relax, to enjoy and be engaged.
While open to exploring different flavors, The Enthusiasts mostly prefer crafts and specialty beers that cannot be found in a standard convenience store. In China, there is a growing demand for innovative, higher-quality brews. Craft beers are rising in popularity, although they are still far from upstaging local brews like Tsingtao and Snow. They are typically more expensive than the mass-market, low-alcohol content ones being sold nationwide, but many Chinese can afford them due to their rising disposable income.
These are the core beer drinkers in China, a large group of consumers mainly composed of men age 18 to 29. Unlike the Explorers though, they typically abstain from trying new flavors in the market, content with certain reliable brews and brands that are low-cost, mass-produced, and supermarket-friendly. Location and convenience play an important role in their purchases. This group also does a lot of their imbibing on-premise and tend to socialize around beer and sports.
In China, one of marketing’s most trusted consumer archetypes is “sports, beers, and bros.” This targets a specific demographic of men who enjoy drinking beer while watching sports events and recently, during competitive video gaming or e-sports. This was proven during this year’s World Cup when beer sales in China surged weeks ahead of the tournament. Share prices for major local beer brands also rose in anticipation of strong demand.
Closing Thoughts on Types of Beer Consumers in China
By studying the segmentation of the beer market in China, companies can create effective marketing approaches and promotions that will increase their chances of success. In future articles, we will discuss how to appeal to each group effectively.