Health and wellness have become top priorities for Chinese consumers, leading to a growing demand for alcoholic beverages with low alcohol content. The low alcohol wine market has seen significant growth in recent years, with sales rising from 13 billion yuan in 2017 to approximately 35 billion yuan in 2022. The sector is expected to continue its upward trajectory, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 30% and a forecasted sales figure of 75 billion by 2025. The most in-demand categories include soda wine, rice wine, tea wine, plum wine, cider, and fruit wine among others.
Younger consumers, particularly women, are the driving force behind this trend. Over 60% of low alcohol wine consumers are female and over 40% belong to Gen Z. Women are drawn to the reduced alcohol content and fruity taste of low alcohol wine, as well as its attractive packaging. Relaxation through low-alcohol wine has become a popular way to deal with the pressures of daily life, and most consumers enjoy it one or more times per week, typically in social situations with friends or family.
Here are some prominent Chinese and imported low-alcohol wine brands to keep an eye on.
Miss Berry, which was founded in 2019 in Shanghai and mainly produces sparkling fruit wines, sees young women as their main market. The company has launched various products such as fruit wine, chocolate wine and coffee wine, targeting women who prefer wine at social gatherings and other occasions. Aside from selling wines at restaurants and bars, it also sells its products through retail outlets such as large supermarkets, convenience stores and Freshippo, the grocery chain of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. By promoting its products on social media platforms such as Douyin and Little Red Book, the company has also attracted a large number of people who live in smaller cities.
Miss Berry is recognised for its flagship product line, fruit wine, featuring a range of flavorful options including peach, passion fruit, lychee, rose, and strawberry, which has consistently held the title of Tmall's top-ranked fruit wine for three months. As a brand aimed at the young generation, Miss Berry has effectively utilised crossover marketing to engage its target audience. One notable example is its collaboration with CHOCDAY, a Chinese chocolate brand, for the launch of a chocolate wine during Valentine's Day, resulting in the sale of 10,000 units. Another successful venture was the introduction of a coffee wine in partnership with Chinese instant coffee brand YongPu, where a remarkable 220,000 units were sold within just three hours during the 618 Chinese online shopping festival.
Rio was established in 2003 by Shanghai Bacchus Limited Company, a subsidiary of the Bacchus Distillery based in Australia. Today, it is widely recognised as a prominent alcopop brand in China. Unlike Miss Berry, which primarily targets women, Rio offers nine product lines catering to diverse customer segments. For instance, the RIO Classic is a popular drink for partying and clubbing, while the RIO Light, with its low ABV, is ideal for casual dining and relaxing after a long day. On the other hand, the RIO Strong, with the highest ABV among Rio's products, appeals to those seeking an extra boost in their cocktails.
In an effort to connect with its target audience of young people, Rio actively seeks out opportunities to be present in venues where they are likely to be. One of its marketing strategies includes being a title sponsor for a number of Chinese dramas, movies, and variety shows. This has allowed Rio's products to receive product placement endorsements, most notably case is through its presence in the popular variety show Keep Running. Additionally, Rio has engaged in innovative crossover marketing efforts, such as its collaboration with well-known IP in the mystery box brand RiCO, Chinese branded Liushen Florida water, video game League of Legends, and others. These marketing campaigns have effectively captured the attention of young Chinese consumers.
Western brands in cider market
The low alcohol wine market is mainly Chinese domestic brands, however, the cider sub-category sees a presence of international, particularly Western brands. For instance, Somersby from Denmark, Rekborderlig from Sweden ranked among the top three in terms of total volume sales in 2021, which holds a 22% and 12% market share respectively, following China Resources Beer's Strongbow brand. Additionally, TEMPT Cider from Denmark successfully established its Taobao flagship store and recorded 1,000 monthly unit sales. To further stand out in a competitive market, manufacturers of these brands are expected to focus on expanding their flavor options as most Chinese brands continuously doing so.
The market for low-alcohol wines in China holds immense potential and promises great growth opportunities. It is important to note that navigating the complexities of legislation, taxation, and cross-border trading can be challenging. Our team is well-equipped to assist your brand in entering the Chinese market with ease, leveraging our expertise and knowledge in these areas, come to speak to us today!