As the Chinese government’s austerity campaign continues, falling demand for imported wine caused its average price per liter to drop in Shanghai in the first half of this year. According to customs figures, in Shanghai, the main gateway of imported wines into the country, wine imports fell 10.9 percent to 54.9 million liters from the same period last year. Wine import values fell faster than volume, dropping 27 percent to 2.57 billion yuan (US$420 million) during this time.
While high-end imported wines are going through a rockier sales period, wine site Decanter China reports that importers expect the middle and lower tiers of the market to grow as wine becomes a more accessible household item. Wangjiu.com, an online wine importer, has even taken to producing its own wines to target the domestic market, reducing its reliance on high-end wine imports.
The average wine price in the first half of the year decreased 18 percent from the same period last year to 46.7 yuan per liter ($7.58). The amount is currently on a downward trajectory—June alone was even lower at 35.4 yuan per liter ($5.75).
Wines from the European Union comprised 70 percent of all foreign imports into Shanghai. The total volume of wine arriving from France, which accounted for nearly half of foreign imports, fell 18.5 percent to 26.5 million liters. Australian wine imports also tumbled 24.8 percent to 5.3 million liters. Decanter China reports that only Chilean wines bucked the trend of falling imports, with their import volumes up 1.6 percent to 5.46 million liters. It attributed the rise to tax concessions from the China-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which will abolish tariffs on Chilean wines into the country next year.