Not even ten years ago, the main wine magazines, writing about Chinese women, titled their articles as follows: “Chinese women prefer reds” or “Red wines, full-bodied and alcoholic for women in China”.
Today more and more often we read titles such as: “Chinese women: in search of bubbles and aromatic white wines”.
What happened in this very short period of time? Were they wrong then? Are they wrong now?
Wine: this excellent substitute.
As I told you in my article on the culture of drinking in China, wine has always been part of Chinese history, despite the fact that it was not a drink that traditionally abounded on dining tables.
Since the 1980s, however, there has been an explicit change in the way of drinking in the “Middle Kingdom”, mainly dictated by the will of the Chinese government to limit the consumption of the much more popular Baijiu (Chinese grappa), with a very high alcohol content, replacing it with a healthier drink.
On the tables of family celebrations, rather than during business meetings, red wine has thus begun to take hold.
As I explained to you, red immediately took over the hearts of the Chinese for various reasons, but above all, cultural ones.
Therefore, women have also started to follow this trend, appreciating it perhaps even more, especially for a matter related to health, the change from spirits (baijiu) to wine.
It is therefore correct to say that, yes, until ten years ago, when wine was still – one step at a time – entering the daily life of Chinese drinking, women preferred red wine, as it is certainly more widely available, sponsored and contemplated.
The rapid changes in Chinese society no longer surprise anyone, not even when it comes to alcohol preferences.
Young consumers play a key role in this socio-cultural transformation. The economic development of China and the openness to the West have exposed the new generations to internationality also in terms of wine. And while male middle-aged consumers tend to be more traditional when it comes to drinking, Millennials have certainly learned to appreciate new categories of wine and different grape varieties, compared to the usual ones widely known in China.
Millennials, and above all women. The female population today represents as much as 50% of the public that prefers imported wine. The data also says that the percentage of women who consume wine in China is growing by 5% annually and estimates predict exponential growth.
Excellent numbers, but why do we see this growth?
In traditional Chinese culture, wine has always been closely related to men, but Chinese women are proving to be more prone every day to break the rules of stereotypes and, hand in hand with a growing level of female education, we find an ever greater momentum in defining one’s own identity and personal satisfaction, even, perhaps above all, when it comes to lifestyle.
Better education, better job positions, higher salaries are the perfect scenario to expect that, thanks to women, alcohol consumption will continue to grow steadily in the years to come in the Country of the Dragon.
To a motivation linked to social prestige is added, as already mentioned, that connected to health and well-being in general.
In addition to replacing the more alcoholic baijiu, wine is often cited for its strong antioxidant actions due to polyphenols, it is also believed to be a beauty ally and is certainly associated with a refined and successful lifestyle.
Together with all these factors, there is certainly also the hand of the KOLs in this growth of wine “all in pink”.
The promotion by the “Wanghong” (KOL or influencer if you prefer) made up of digital events, discounts and performances on the main social platforms, certainly involved a younger audience and initiated the so-called “she economy” of wine and spirits, which has been increasingly refined during the last lockdown. An increasing number of KOL women in this sector has attracted as many representatives of the fair sex who recognize themselves in these influencers or whose lifestyle they would like to imitate.
What will we find in the glasses of young Chinese women in the coming years?
Many alcohol brands have launched new lines designed especially for consumers of the fairer sex.
The characteristics are: lower alcohol content, well-present aromatic and fruity scents, captivating packaging, softer and more sugary style.
What is already depopulating among women in China? We have certainly seen a surge in sales of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
But Italy also receives excellent feedback from CBN data, a Chinese company specialized in market research, which has noted that Moscato d’Asti is currently the most sought after Italian wine by young Chinese women with a high purchasing power.
Moscato d’Asti stands out for its freshness, aromaticity and residual sugar.
We can expect the palate of Chinese consumers to evolve further, appreciating more complex and less fruity wines. In the meantime it is good to keep in mind that this is the public most likely to consume white wines, especially if aromatic. Surely it is time for companies to conquer a slice of the market that is just waiting to be solicited.