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Monday, May 7th, 2018

China is now the main consumer of wine, but it is France who spends more

A study about the consumption of wine in 2017 reveals the strength gained by the Eastern market, although in terms of value, France and the UK are still in the lead

Producers of wine

VALENCIA.  More and more Chinese people are drinking wine, and consequently, the demand in the country has become the highest in the international market in reference to the volume.  If we focus on the value, France and the United Kingdom are still ahead in the ranking, being the only countries which exceed 10,000 million euros in expenditure.  These are the data given in the ‘Panorama actual y perspectivas del sector vitivinícola 2017’ (PDF in Spanish), produced yearly by EAE Business School, an education institution which analyses the evolution of the wine industry, both on a national and international level, and then tries to make predictions about it.

The report reveals that China has consumed 48.2 million hectolitres of wine in the past year, exceeding the traditional leader, The United States, who this year have consumed 32.2 million hectolitres. The expectation is that both countries are still at the forefront of consumption with a 5% and 2% increase, respectively.  However, those that invest the most in wine are the French, with €10,497 million in 2017, which is 2% higher than in 2016, alongside the British, with €10,329 million and 2% lower than the 2016 data.  It is expected that they will maintain their positions, France increasing by 3% and the UK by 1% on the amount that they currently fulfil.

In reference to the production, the wine is still a profitable business.  The three main producers of wine in the world are the same as in previous years: Italy (39.3 million hl), France (36.7 million hl), and Spain (33.5 million hl).  It is interesting that this datum shows all three have decreased, between 15% and 20%, in relation to the previous year, to the point where the global production of wine in 2017 has hardly reached 246.7 million hectolitres.  This makes it comparable to the levels reached in the 1960s, but at the same time it discusses a more exclusive product.

The consumer profile

Wine consumer profiles

In Spain, the er capita consumption of wine has increased in homes (from 8.88 litres in 2015, to 9.07 in 2016), although the consumption cut in restaurants (from 4.52 litres to 3.86) means the overall total has decreased.  Last year 13.4 litres were consumed per capita, and this time the figure is 12.93.  With regard to the stability, the fact that the wine expenditure per capita has increased, indicates a movement towards better quality wines.

In fact, the EAE report delineates a very clear consumer profile.  60% of the Spanish population drink wine, but 80% (17,926,393 people) drink it daily, and 20% (4,528,347 people) drink sporadically.  The percentage of red wine consumption is 72.9%, whilst 12.9% is white wine, leaving rosé and sparkling wines in the minority.  In terms of gender, men in particular drink wine (57%), and a steep increase is shown by women (43%), whilst in terms of age, the most affected category is those over 54 (38%).

The study also mentions six classifications of consumers: the traditional middle-lower class male, over 54 years (6.9%); the urbanite enthusiast underage boy (7.6%); the trendy one, defined as a young person who likes to live every day to its fullest (26.4%); a person of routine, which is usually females over 54 (21.6%); the occasional drinker, either men or women interested in the wine world (24.5%); and the sociable one, both sexes, of middle age, who drinks at celebrations (13%).  This shows that the mainstream groups in Spain are those that opt for quality wine, and more and more of these are females.

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