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China Western Spirits Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Western Spirits market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report covers all Western spirits (distilled beverages) and liqueurs (flavoured with fruit and herbs) in both retail and on-trade (HoReCa) channels, produced in Western markets and then sold in China, as follows:

  • Anis/absinthe includes absinthe, arak and similar spirits.
  • Brandies and brandy type include spirits derived from grapes/ grape skins.
  • Gin-based includes gin, Geneva and ginebra.
  • Rum/sugar cane-based includes white and dark rum, ron & caña, aguardiente.
  • Tequila includes tequila of all ages.
  • Vodka-based includes premium, standard and economy vodkas, aquavit and Scandinavian schnapps.
  • Whiskies include Scotch (whisky), Irish whiskey, Bourbon and other (local) whiskies.

Fermented wine,RTD mixers, fortified wine and rice wine/sake are excluded in this report.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Wenxin Xu, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The rising middle-class is fuelling the accelerating recovery of Western spirits in China. With fast adoption of e-channels and growing Western cultural influence, both opportunities and challenges are presented to market players; operators need to find a way to make Western spirits fit into modern Chinese lifestyles. The consumer groups that do already hold moderate knowledge about this category leave room for players to compete with more complex and refined products. Wenxin Xu
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Both value and volume are expected to gain momentum from recovery
                • Figure 1: Best-and Worst-case forecast of total Western spirits market value, China, 2013-23
                • Figure 2: Best-and Worst-case forecast of total Western spirits market volume, China, 2013-23
              • Brandy/cognac and whisky/bourbon secure leading positions
                • Companies and brands
                  • Consolidating market under top players rebuilding confidence
                    • Figure 3: Market share of leading Western spirits players, by value, China, 2016 and 2017
                  • Optimised portfolio by the top player fuels competition
                    • Reimagined sales channels and campaigns through technology
                      • Innovation based on local needs
                        • The consumer
                          • Western spirits intrigue consumers
                            • Figure 4: Usage of Western spirits, September 2018
                          • Consumers are inclined to home-meals and Chinese-style places
                            • Figure 5: Consumption occasions of spirits, September 2018
                          • New middle-class are ready for new drinking experience
                            • Figure 6: Price preference, September 2018
                          • Inadequate knowledge leads to other endorsement
                            • Figure 7: Purchase consideration, September 2018
                          • Sophisticated drinkers as endorsers
                            • Figure 8: Knowledge about spirits – know that tequila is made from a type of plant, by gender and top five employment categories, September 2018
                          • Barrier derives from unfamiliarity and health concerns
                            • Figure 9: Barriers of drinking, September 2018
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                            • Shine under the right spotlight
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Convey the right information
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Alleviate growing health concern
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                              • Figure 10: Diageo’s CSR campaign
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • A recovering market
                                              • Balance between positive and negative factors
                                                • Brandy/cognac and whisky are dominating segmentation
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Strong rebound continues in 2018
                                                    • Positive outlook for the following years
                                                      • Figure 11: Best-and Worst-case forecast of total Western spirits market value, China, 2013-23
                                                      • Figure 12: Best-and Worst-case forecast of total Western spirits market volume, China, 2013-23
                                                  • Market Factors

                                                    • More exposure to foreign culture
                                                      • Figure 13: Outbound tourism from China, 2013-18
                                                      • Figure 14: Chinese students study abroad and returning, 2013-17
                                                    • Consumers’ willingness to pay more for spirits
                                                      • Concerns about a healthy diet
                                                      • Market Segmentation

                                                        • Stable across all segments in value and volume
                                                          • Figure 15: Total value segmentation of Western spirits, China, 2013-17
                                                          • Figure 16: Total volume segmentation of Western spirits, China, 2013-17
                                                        • Brandy/cognac shows resilience
                                                        • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Market consolidation fuelled by top players
                                                            • Popular Western spirits companies see sales boost
                                                              • Technology-enriched campaigns flourished
                                                              • Market Share

                                                                • Pernod Ricard still leads the market with both volume and value growth
                                                                  • Diageo lags behind front runners
                                                                    • Rémy Cointreau
                                                                      • LVMH keeps up with the race
                                                                        • Figure 17: Market share of leading Western spirits players, by volume, China, 2016 and 2017
                                                                        • Figure 18: Market share of leading Western spirits players, by value, China, 2016 and 2017
                                                                    • Market Highlights

                                                                      • China: Pernod Ricard’s Absolut Vodka targets young consumers
                                                                        • Figure 19: Absolut Nights campaign 2017
                                                                      • China: Rémy Cointreau’s Rémy Martin leverages technology
                                                                        • Figure 20: VR showcase at Chengdu la maison Rémy Martin
                                                                      • China: Moët & Chandon woos consumers with mini size
                                                                        • Figure 21: Moët & Chandon mini’s debut across 80 countries
                                                                      • China: Domestic companies introduce variety pack
                                                                        • Figure 22: Xiaozhi assorted wine giftbox
                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Curious consumers eager to dabble
                                                                        • Local style places are favoured more
                                                                          • Moderate knowledge differentiates purchasing preference
                                                                          • Usage of Western spirits

                                                                            • Curiosity towards the unfamiliar
                                                                              • Figure 23: Usage of Western spirits, September 2018
                                                                            • Young consumers in their early 20s are more adventurous
                                                                              • Females in 20s drinks more Western spirits
                                                                                • Figure 24: Usage of Western spirits – I have drunk it, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                            • Consumption Occasion

                                                                              • Socialising with families or friends at home meal is the main occasion
                                                                                • Figure 25: Consumption occasions of spirits, September 2018
                                                                              • Chinese-styled places are more popular than international-style places
                                                                                • Different gender and age groups have preferred occasions
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Consumption occasions of spirits, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                                • Gin drinkers indulge on specific occasions
                                                                                • Price Preference

                                                                                  • Premium perception opens door for premium pricing
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Price preference, September 2018
                                                                                  • Value for money can be another effective direction
                                                                                  • Purchase Consideration

                                                                                    • Appealing branding is the key to all consumers
                                                                                      • One fit for all does not work anymore
                                                                                        • Figure 28: Purchase consideration, September 2018
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Usage of Western spirits – I have drunk it, by age, September 2018
                                                                                      • Influencers and social media play a bigger role for gin
                                                                                        • Married consumers in tier one cities value more factors
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Purchase consideration by city tiers and marriage status, September 2018
                                                                                      • Knowledge about Spirits

                                                                                        • Moderate knowledge about brandy/cognac
                                                                                          • Figure 31: Knowledge about spirits, September 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 32: Knowledge about spirits, September 2018
                                                                                        • Single-malt whisky brands can be relieved
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Knowledge about spirits, September 2018
                                                                                        • Liqueur needs to broaden its audience
                                                                                          • Figure 34: Knowledge about spirits, September 2018
                                                                                        • Male managers and female white collars are more knowledgeable
                                                                                          • Figure 35: Knowledge about spirits – agree with tequila is made from a type of plant, by gender and top five employment categories, September 2018
                                                                                      • Reasons for Not Drinking

                                                                                        • Cluelessness leads to avoidance
                                                                                          • Figure 36: Barriers of drinking, September 2018
                                                                                      • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                        • Greater exposure to Western spirits
                                                                                          • Figure 37: Usage of Western spirits, by consumer classification, China, September 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Usage of Western spirits – I have drunk it, by consumer classification, China, September 2018
                                                                                        • More knowledgeable about niche spirits
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Knowledge about spirits – agree with ‘VSOP in Hennessy VSOP and XO in Remy Martin Xo are only part of the brand name without special meaning’, by consumer classification, September 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Knowledge about spirits – agree with ‘Tequila is made from a type of plant’, by consumer classification, September 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Knowledge about spirits, disagree with ‘Rum only has light colour (eg white)’, by consumer classification, September 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Knowledge about spirits, agree with ‘Rum is made from sugar crane’, by consumer classification, September 2018
                                                                                        • Higher requirements to trigger purchase
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Purchase consideration, by consumer classification, September 2018
                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                          • Figure 44: total market value of Western spirits, China, 2013-23
                                                                                          • Figure 45: total market volume of Western spirits, China, 2013-23
                                                                                      • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                        • Methodology
                                                                                          • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                            • Abbreviations