French Pewtersmiths Take On Hong Kong Market
Hong Kong and mainland China may still be in the grips of a budding love affair with high-end red wines, but growing demand among younger and female consumers in the region is making champagne makers more bullish about their prospects there by the year. Last year, China and other emerging markets were instrumental in driving a seven percent global rise in champagne sales, leading consumption around the world to reach 323 million bottles of champagne, worth an estimated 4.4 billion euros (US$5.9 billion). Though it lags far behind leading champagne markets like the US, imports in China hit a record 1.3 million bottles last year, a 19 percent rise year-over-year, putting it neck and neck with Singapore. In response to flagging demand in established European markets, top champagne makers like Moët & Chandon and Veuve-Clicquot have aggressively turned to the Asia-Pacific market, in China targeting younger drinkers by tapping fashion and art influencers, as well as social media platforms like Sina Weibo. As Jing Daily recently noted, Moët & Chandon in particular has been among the fastest movers on Weibo in the luxury industry in the past year, using their Weibo page to educate potential buyers while brand-building in a potentially lucrative market.
But increased buying at auction — a case of Cristal Brut 1990 sold this weekend at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for HK$58,800 (US$7,538) — and Weibo-driven buzz isn’t only attracting more champagne and sparkling white wine producers to enter the Greater China market. It’s also attracting secondary retailers, looking to harness the enthusiasm (and cash) of this new bubbly-buying demographic. Recently, the French heritage pewtersmith brand L’Orfèvrerie d’Anjou (OA 1710), established in 1710, entered the Hong Kong market with eyes, ostensibly, on a broader China roll-out.
Very much a niche brand, specializing in champagne buckets, OA 1710 is hoping to take advantage of an interest in imported heritage brands, particularly those from France (when wine is involved), and modern design that has become a distinguishing factor among Hong Kong’s wealthy consumers. Though it’s new to Hong Kong, its retail expansion isn’t OA 1710’s first foray in the city. Previously, the brand worked with local tattoo artist Joey Pang on its “SossÖ Tattoo” line of champagne buckets and accessories.
While the entrance of a niche accessories maker isn’t earth-shaking news in itself, the fact that heritage marques are now confident enough in the continued buying power of the Hong Kong and Greater China markets to not only enter these regions but to actively localize says a lot. Specifically, it is arguably enough to make the case that Chinese consumers — though still broadly red wine-focused in terms of the grape wine market — are segmenting quickly. If they’re buying specialized accessories like champagne buckets, whether for themselves or for gifts, it follows that champagne purchases (again, for themselves or for gifts) will rise. And, as with everything in the China wine market, Hong Kong consumption tends to lead mainland China consumption trends. As such, champagne and sparkling wine are wine segments to watch closely in the years ahead.
L’Orfèvrerie d’Anjou (OA 1710) is currently available at the following Hong Kong retailers:
G/F, 19 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
(852) 2568 2009
Amo Eno wine bar and shop
Shop 3027, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central
(852) 2954 9922
I.D Store Shop
227, 2/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central
(852) 2523 3006