China toasts to affluence: drinking increases
Marketing mag has reported on declining beer sales in Australia, but alcohol consumption in China is showing no signs of slowing down.
A Datamonitor report has shown that where Western consumers are lessening their alcohol consumption for health reasons, rising disposable incomes and better living conditions have contributed to an increase in Chinese consumption of alcohol.
China’s entry into the WTO has also reduced taxes on imported alcohol, leading to an influx of several prominent international brands into the Chinese market. This has made for a greater variety of choice available for consumers at a lower price point.
But Saritha Pingali, Datamonitor’s consumer markets analyst, says Chinese drinkers are making health-conscious choices as well.
“Government interference will continue to influence the consumption patterns of alcoholic beverages in China,” Pingali says. “Baiju, which has been the most favored alcoholic beverage in China, is now threatened by low-strength alcohols being promoted by the government. Effective from August 2009, the government has spiked taxes on high strength alcohols, compelling consumers to choose among wine and beer, which are both relatively low in alcohol contents.”
Growing health concerns are driving demand for beverages with low alcohol content and organic alcoholic beverages. Datamonitor estimates that the per capita consumption of still wines (low strength wines), will grow nearly three times faster than that of the overall sector, between 2009-14.