Chinese wine market to overtake UK by 2020

China’s thriving wine market will be worth more than the UK by 2020, VINEXPO has forecast.

The UK will be pushed into third place among the world’s biggest wine markets when sales of still and sparkling wine reach $21 billion in China compared to $16 billion in the UK.

The data reveals changes in the behaviour of drinkers of still wines over the next five years as UK imports fall from 120.9 million 9-litre cases in 2015 to 117.4 million cases by 2020.

The value of wine sales will decline to $15.5 from $15.8 (its highest point in 2015) over the same period.

The trends show consumers choosing premium and standard still wines (drinking less but better) in the run up to 2020 while sales of value/low price wines below £5 a bottle will show a fall of nearly four per cent compared with 2015.

Lower alcohol wines are a likely area of growth driven by health consciousness, lower price points (between £1.50 and £2 less for a 75cl bottle) and the lowering of the drink-driving limit in Scotland has had a particularly strong effect for on-trade sales. A drink-driving limit in England and Wales would produce similar effects, says the report.

In sharp contrast, sparkling wines, especially Prosecco, will show strong growth. The UK is expected to be the leading global growth market for Prosecco showing a rise of 10.8 per cent between 2016-2020 to reach consumption of 8.2 million 9-litre cases.

The forecasts also cover the period of Brexit negotiation, reading: “In such a price sensitive market still wines can expect to be dramatically impacted by the result of the EU referendum as the effects of increased consumer caution, economic uncertainty and price increases are felt.”

The report adds that New World wines are expected to make substantial gains in sales of wine priced at £8 and more a bottle. “New Zealand and Argentinian wines in particular are set to perform well on the back of the shifting focus to quality over quantity.”

Mr Guillaume Deglise, CEO of VINEXPO, said, “As the world’s biggest international wine and spirit exhibition, discussion by visitors, buyers and suppliers from 135 countries about the impact and opportunities occasioned by Brexit are poised to be a major topic this summer.”

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