According to the latest study of Mintel, the beer market in China has undergone a massive growth by 29% in term of volume in the five years to 2011, to attain a record volume of 50 billion liters for the first time in 2011. In addition, in value terms, the beer market in China also experienced a growth 63% to reach a total market value of RMB 454 billion in 2011. This reflects that people of China are showing an increasing trend of consuming high-value beer products. More importantly, there is also a remarkable growth in beer sales in 2011, rising by 12% compared to only 6% volume growth in 2010, indicating renewed interest of consumer in beer consumption.
According to Matthew Crabbe, Director of China Research at Mintel - China is a rising destination, where reputed multinational brewing groups are expecting major turnout in present days. It has been found that continued rapid growth in average incomes of people and the general feel-good factor about the financial stability of China have triggered more beer consumption in people. Moreover, consumers are not only drinking beer but also looking for expensive ones.
At a total volume of 50 billion liters of beer consumption, China has considerably surpassed its closest rival, the US at 24 billion liters. Again, Brazil estimated at 4 billion liters, Russia and Germany at 9 billion liters respectively constitute the remaining top five markets for volume consumption across the globe.
Now, contrary to the increasing sales of beer in China, wine and spirit sales have reduced. Wine underwent a value growth of 52% on yearly basis up to 2010, which dropped to jut 12% in 2011. On the other hand, beer sales in China showed low sales growth of just 7% year-on-year to 2010, which increased to 13% in 2011.
While analyzing the defining reasons for drinking beer, around 73% of Chinese consumers opined that they prefer to sip beer, while socializing with family and friends. The other top five reasons are: when dining at parties or at banquets (62%), while entertaining guests at home (61%), with meal (44%) and while socializing with people after work (43%). Around 33% of Chinese consumers love to have beer to rewind after work, and nearly 9% claim to drink beer after playing sports.
However, Matthew Crabbe holds that this growing beer market of China needs to add a little innovation in products, packaging, national and regional branding and engagement with consumers, for maintaining per capita growth and increase sales of more premium beers.