China’s wine imports continued to grow in both volume and value terms in the first nine months of the year, continuing an upward growth trend, according to the latest figures released by the China Association for Imports & Export of Wines & Spirits.
The country imported US$1.77 billion worth of wines during the period, representing a 19.1% year-on-year increase. Its total volume of wine imports also jumped 14.42% to over 464 million litres from January to September, said the official national trade association.
China’s bottled wine imports totalled about US$1.66bn, a year-on-year increase of 20.64%, and accounted for 93.4% of all imported wines.
In volume terms, the country imported more than 354 million litres of wines, a 19.06% increase compared with the same period last year.
“The consistently strong performance of bottled wine imports proved their continued recognition and popularity among customers,” said the trade association.
Sparkling wine imports, however, saw a year-on-year decline of 12.23% in value to US$41.8 million, according to the statistics.
In terms of the origins of importing countries for bottled wines, France and Australia were responsible for 70% of all the bottled wines imported to China during the period based on imported value, followed by Chile, Spain, Italy, the USA, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Portugal, Germany, Georgia and Canada.
Regarding average wine prices, New Zealand toped the list with US$9.66 per litre, followed by Australia with US$7.14 per litre. Among the top 13 countries, Spanish wines recorded the lowest average sales price of US$2 per litre, the figures showed.
In September China’s e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com launched online wine and spirits festivals to drum up sales. The single month’s wine imports, however, dipped 10.2% to US$170m.
The association attributed the decrease to a relatively high comparing base, given there was a year-on-year 61.5% increase in 2015. “We believe, a particular single month’s bottled wines’ decrease does not mean there would be an upcoming overall decline,” the association explained, adding in September 2015, the country’s bottled wine imports surged from US$120m to US$190m.
Bulk wine imports in the first three quarters of the year were also up 9.76% year on year to US$74.8m.
The same report also released figures for spirits and beer. Imported spirits recorded a decline in sales value of almost 6% to US$ 586m, while imported beer showed a year-on-year double digit growth rate of 13.7%, to US$525m.
Table 1: China’s alcoholic beverage imports from January to September, 2016 (Source: China Association for Imports & Export of Wines & Spirits)