China’s 50 million drinkers of imported wine found more occasions to drink wine during the Covid-19 restrictions, and bought more wine using online retailers, according to a new report published this week by Wine Intelligence.
While in other global markets consumer wine purchases have gone up but spend per bottle has fallen, Chinese drinkers said they increased their buying frequency overall for informal non-food occasions, and also spent a bit more per bottle for this type of occasion. The online retail channel appears to have taken the lion’s share of these new purchases, with over half of respondents saying they have bought wine via an online retailer more often during this period.
The new Wine Intelligence China COVID-19 Impact Report polled a representative sample of 1,000 monthly Chinese resident wine drinkers across 12 major cities & conurbations during March and April to understand how their wine drinking behaviour was changing as a result of the restrictions due to the coronavirus.
The findings suggest that wine has fared better than expected in China, given that in this market the drink has been traditionally associated with more formal in-person social occasions in bars and restaurants. Analysis by Wine Intelligence shows that 57% of respondents said they drank wine whilst catching up with friends online at least once a week during lockdown, with 1 in 3 saying this was happening 2 or more times a week.
When asked about their intentions once the virus lockdown ended, sentiment seems to be against going on vacations abroad and attending crowded events. However, while some respondents expressed caution about going out to bars and restaurants immediately after restrictions were eased, on balance more said they would be more likely to go out to eat (38%) than less likely (34%). In all other markets polled by Wine Intelligence, the balance of sentiment among consumers has been against visiting restaurants after lockdown.
The Wine Intelligence China COVID-19 Impact Report will be available for purchase later this week. It includes latest insights pre, during and predicted post COVID-19 restrictions, including drinks repertoire, wine buying and consumption behaviours, brand health and lifestyle behaviour changes.
Commenting on the report, Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead said: “The data suggests that the wine category has emerged from China’s coronavirus crisis largely unscathed, despite the closure of the on-trade, traditionally one of the most important channels to market for wine in China.
“As to why this is, our analysis is showing that Chinese imported wine drinkers have found new at-home occasions to enjoy a glass of wine, and have grown more used to the idea of having wine in the home, especially as they are growing more confident about using online delivery services to get the wine they want.”