China set to replace UK as world’s biggest retail market by 2020

China is set to replace the UK as the second biggest retail market for wine behind the United States by 2020, according to new data released this week by Vinexpo and IWSR.

It currently sits fourth in the top 10 biggest global retail markets for value for still and sparkling wines at $15,529m compared to the US first at $34,511m, the UK second with $18,845m and France third with $16, 332.

But by 2020 the US will stil be top with $38,632m, China will have jumped up to second with $21,716m, the UK will be third with $19,318 and France will be $16,023m.

It has certainly fully recovered from the downturn it suffered on the back of the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign in 2012/2013, said Guillame Deglise, chief executive of Vinexpo.

Its case sales of imported wine are also expected to rise from 52.7m in 2016 to 94.5m in 2010, a leap of 79.3%.

What makes the China’s growth most exciting for the global wine trade, added Deglise, was that it is now for the first time a consumer driven and not state driven market. “We keep talking about China, but it is the market that is seeing the most important changes,” he added.

China is also set to account for 71.8% of total wine growth in imported wine over the next four years, according to the Vinexpo/IWSR figures.

Outside of China, the United States is second in terms of global wine growth from imported wine accounting for 6.5% of that as it sees its imported wine sales go up to 85.8m 9 litre cases in 2020 versus 81.9m in 2016.

“Consumption in China has changed. It is becoming more of a consumer’s market which is much more open minded about what they drink,” he said.

So much so that there was an overall 35% increase in wine imports in to China in 2016, said Deglise.

That said we should not get carried away by China’s overall importance on the amount of wine being drunk and shipped around the world, said Deglise, pointing out that only 38 million Chinese are drinking more than a bottle of wine a year. “It’s still very small consumption compared to the population as a whole,” he added.

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Neville Blech
 

Qualified as a chartered accountant in 1959 and became passionate about food and wine whilst working in Italy in the early sixties.

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