HONG KONG -- Hong Kong has emerged as Asia’s wine drinking capital as well as regional hub for the trade, according to a new survey for VINEXPO Asia-Pacific 2012, which is set to break records on return to Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from 29 to 31 May 2012.
The annual survey conducted for VINEXPO by The IWSR (International Wine and Spirit Research) found Hong Kong’s average adult consumption of five litres a year is the highest in Asia – more than twice the average in Japan and Singapore, and four times the level in mainland China.
Last year alone, Hong Kong’s wine consumption increased by almost 7%, reaching 3.25 million 9-litre cases – or 39 million bottles. Consumption doubled from 2006-2010.
French wine is most popular, accounting for 28% of sales, ahead of Australia (20%) and the United States (11%).
Hong Kong’s taste for sparkling wine and champagne is even more cause for celebration – consuming twice as much ‘bubbly’ as the rest of Asia combined!
Since scrapping import duty on wine, Hong Kong is also firmly established as regional hub to the booming China / Asian market. Latest wine import-export figures revealed in the survey, for 2010, show Hong Kong re-exported two million of the five 5 million 9-litre cases imported – meaning 40% of wine is shipped onwards.
The survey also found that China, with Hong Kong consumption included, has joined the world’s top five wine markets – soaring ahead of the UK as the 5th largest national consumer.
As the United States remains the world’s leading wine market, ahead of Italy and France, but China and Hong Kong are catching up fast, with combined consumption growing by 33.4% in just one year in 2010. China is now also the 6th largest wine-producer.
Asia-Pacific is also the leading spirits-consuming region, accounting for 59% of global market share.
The annual VINEXPO/ IWSR survey is acknowledged as the widest, most accurate and most detailed analysis of the worldwide wine and spirits market. It covers 28 producing countries and 114 consumption markets.
Its latest findings are announced as VINEXPO Asia-Pacific 2012 returns to Hong Kong in record-breaking style, booked-out six months in advance with nearly a thousand exhibitors.
VINEXPO Asia-Pacific chief executive Robert Beynat said: “VINEXPO Asia-Pacific 2012 is showcasing the international wine & spirits industry in the ‘nerve centre’ of its most important new market.”
Industry's future is in Asia
With the wine & spirits industry convinced its future rests in Asia, exhibition space is expanded by nearly 25 per cent to 10,500 sq. m to accommodate exhibitors from 35 countries. Australia has reserved six times the space it last occupied, as South Africa and the US have more than doubled their total stand areas.
Exhibitors (see full list of exhibitors) extend from major wine exporters such as Italy and Spain to little-known producers like Lebanon and Greece.
Attendance of wine & spirits buyers and professionals is also expected to break the record 12,617 visitors attending the last VINEXPO Asia-Pacific in 2010.
As wine consumption in the Asia-Pacific booms, minimal growth of 0.41% is expected over the next five years in Europe, which represents 62% of world consumption. America’s consumption is expected to increase by 10%.
Among exporters, France leads the wine market in terms of value, and Italy in volume. Italian wine exports increased by 30% over the five year period, ahead of Spain and France. Chile overtook Australia to become 4th largest wine exporter.
A notable worldwide trend identified by the VINEXPO / IWSR survey is that consumers are becoming more discerning – turning their backs on cheapest wine and opting for pricier bottles. Growth in wine sold under US$5 was just under one per cent from 2006-2010. Consumption of wines between US$5-10 grew by 10.69%. Most growth was for wine priced over US$10 – up by 14.65%.
A taste for spirits
Asia-Pacific meanwhile defied international trends with 59.28% growth in spirits consumption from 2006-2010 – as European consumption fell by 1.38% and America’s growth was just 3.22%.
While more than 60% of all spirits consumed worldwide are locally made, vodka is the most popular international spirit. However, vodka consumption fell by 2.5% from 2006-2010. Consumption of rum also slowed, by 10%.
Europe and America remain premium spirit producers.
VINEXPO is the world’s largest wines and spirits trade exhibition, staged annually in alternative years between Bordeaux and Hong Kong. This year, Chinese exhibitors include Grace Vineyard, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine, and Dynasty Fine Wines. They will be present offering their wines for tasting while taking advantage of the impact VINEXPO Asia-Pacific has on distribution channels all over the region.