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Online Festival to Drive Sales of Australian Wine in China

www.powerretail.com.au by DEANNE SHELDON-COLLINS10/09/2018  

A new partnership between Alibaba and Wine Australia will give local products an edge in China’s upcoming Global Wine and Spirits Festival.

Alibaba Group and Wine Australia have announced a strategic partnership designed to up the popularity – and sales – of Australian wine in China. The annual 9.9 Global Wine and Spirits Festival, now in its third year, will launch on Monday 9 September and highlight Australian brands through a Wine Australia flagship store.

The festival will include offline features, such as free tastings in thousands of China’s pubs and bars. Mostly, however, the festival will take place online via the B2C giant Tmall.com, an Alibaba-run platform that sells brand-name products directly to Chinese consumers.

In the ten years since it launched, Tmall has become one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms; according to Alexa rankings, it is the ninth-most visited site globally and third-most visited in China. The site is an important channel for Australian retailers who want to tap into the Chinese market, and wine sellers are no exception.

Chinese consumers have developed a taste for Australian wines, and Wine Australia’s latest Export Report shows that this trend is not slowing down. The year ending June 2018 saw a 51 percent increase in exports to Northeast Asia, totalling a value of $1.2 billion. China was the top market, accounting for 40 percent of export value. Australian wine overall is enjoying a global boom, with its total export value of $2.76 billion representing a 20 percent growth rate, the highest in 15 years.

Although the report recommends focusing on the US market (the only area in which 2017-18 saw no growth), China remains a key target area for Australian wine retailers. The 9.9 Global Wine and Spirits Festival is a significant event for international businesses seeking sales and exposure in the Chinese market. Showcasing over 100,000 wine and spirit brands to 576 million online consumers, the online festival represents a major opportunity to make Australian wines more available to an eager consumer base.

Wine Australia and Alibaba’s partnership is also harnessing social media to spread the word among China’s emerging market of young wine drinkers.

“After reviewing recent purchasing trends made via Alibaba’s platforms, we note the significant growth in imported wine purchases from China’s young generation,” says Maggie Zhou, Managing Director of Alibaba Group in Australia and New Zealand. “Upon further research, we found this group of young emerging wine drinkers are more experimental with their product choices and therefore more likely to purchase a unique wine from Australia.”

The Chufei Churan twins, young Chinese celebrities with over one million followers on social media, are touring Australia during the festival. Their visit will encompass restaurants and wineries in Sydney and South Australia, promoting local wines to their Chinese fanbase. With influencer marketing on the rise, the twins’ tour promises an extra push that will give Australian products an edge in the festival’s enormous range of options.

“Online retail has revolutionised the way that people shop so it’s critical that the Australian wine sector has an online presence which promotes our brands in a genuine way,” says David Littleproud, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. “It’s opening up commercial opportunities for our wineries and building on a year of strong growth for Australian wine in the Chinese export market.”