4 Actionable Tips on How to Tap the China Wine Market

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Promoting exquisite wines to consumers in China is more than just building a Chinese website. A growing wine market also requires merchants like you to explore other distribution channels from online to offline marketing solutions.

The wine market in China is expected to generate US$24,022.3 million in 2018. While the United States remain the world’s largest market valued at US$32,056 million, analysts say the million-dollar market in China will grow by 5 percent every year.

The United States, France, and Australia remain well-established producers and consumers, but China is also gaining momentum with an average volume per person as consumption is at 1.8L.

According to market research, by 2021, two percent of the total revenue of alcoholic drinks will come from online sales. E-commerce is continuously growing where most consumers use online platforms to purchase wines where each bottle has an average price per unit at almost US $10 in 2018.

Here are four actionable tips to start the journey in the world’s second largest wine market.

#1 Embrace online retailing (e-commerce localization)

There are three categories of wine e-commerce platforms. The first is the targeted wine site such as Yesmywine and Jiumeiwang. The second one is a more integrated e-commerce wine platform such as Wangjiuwang, Jingdong, T-Mall, and Jiuxianwang. You can list down your products on these platforms to start selling.

The third one is the winery owned, self-hosted e-commerce platform. If you have an English website and then apply Chinese translation, you can also integrate e-commerce solutions as part of the localization strategy such as layout, payment channels, social media apps, etc.

#2 Explore your online and offline distribution

While China remains the most active market for online wine purchases—Chinese consumers use the internet to find imported wines that are authentic and high-quality— exploring online and offline (O2O) distribution will strike a balance in increasing sales since wine displays in brick-and-mortar shops, supermarkets, and other types of physical stores are also gaining momentum.

Liquor Easy and Yijiu Yijiu (1919) have adopted the O2O business model, tapping multiple channels via e-commerce offering door-to-door deliveries and in-store pick-up. 1919 is by far more prominent than Liquor Easy where it has opened neatly 1000 across the mainland. Jiudating (Wine Inquirer) is a platform for local wine professionals and owners to share tips and insights to newbies and wine enthusiasts. The platform also serves as the “middleman” as it handles the orders, payment processing, and logistics.

#3 Engage with Chinese millennials

Wine sellers from overseas should take a look at the purchasing behavior of Chinese millennials. The middle-class income earners are spending the hard-earned money on food and dining, which also includes the wines.

Mr. Cheung, one of the organizers of the wine roadshows in Australia said that most of the cooperators were young people ages 20-30 years old, who are aware of the global brand names.

Most young people can afford to buy wines and make wine drinking a part of their lifestyle. They know the different categories of wine, the grape varieties, and also they have more exposure on overseas travels, which spur more awareness on different types and brands. The shift in demographics and the increasing exposure to the western world drives growth to the market, allowing winemakers to have a targeted approach when promoting the products.

#4 Host a small event and partner with local companies

One of the most effective ways to create brand awareness is participating in B2B events in China, especially in major cities where Chinese urbanites live and thrive. From networking events to training and workshops, B2B partnerships can help you grow your wine business and link you to both local wine professionals and direct customers.

Hosting wine dinners or sponsoring wine workshops are examples of events you can participate. A variety of topics such as how wine knowledge can help in negotiation or closing deals or wine etiquette are good starters.

Based on the abovementioned tips, you need a team to help you jumpstart your digital marketing strategy from website translation to exploring online marketing tools in China and understanding your target audience. If you’re targeting a specific demographic, you need to apply Chinese copywriting techniques that will engage and prompt them to know more about your wines.