The number of urban middle-class wine drinkers in China is still on the increase despite a slowing economy, according to new research.
A new report, published by Wine Intelligence, suggests there are now 48m urban upper-middle-class imported-wine drinkers, up from 38m in 2014. An increase in disposable income and the growth of e-commerce in the country have made imported wine more affordable and accessible, according to China Landscapes 2016.
Consumers are also drinking more often, Wine Intelligence said. 35% of consumers surveyed stated that they drink imported wine on a weekly basis, compared to 23% the year prior.
Consumption is expected to be driven by younger drinkers. Some 80% of 18-29-year-olds said that wine is reasonably priced, compared with 66% of 40-54-year-olds.
"Overall we are seeing the normalisation of the market and the modernisation of its consumers. China will remain one of the world's most important markets for imported wine, but the nature of consumption is changing," said Wine Intelligence senior research manager Chuan Zhou. "It is now more important than ever for wine businesses to be highly strategic in the way they pick their targets. Taking the time to implement the correct strategy will secure continued growth and profitability in the world's fifth-largest wine market."
The China Landscapes 2016 report is based on research carried out among 1,040 Chinese urban upper-middle-class imported-wine drinkers in March 2016, and 1,119 in March 2015.