Allegrini 2018

China’s wine imports lose 25% in value in 2020. Italy at 101 million euros

The Oemv balance sheet on Chinese customs data: the pandemic accelerates the collapse that began in 2018. On the podium still Australia, France, Chile
Wine in China in 2020

After reaching its all-time record high in 2017 with 751 million liters, China imported just over 450 million liters of wine in 2020. The effects of the pandemic have only accentuated the crisis of imports on Asia’s largest market, which ended the year down 30% on 2019. The fall affects all types of wine, in a market where bottled still wine accounts for more than 70% of volumes and over 90% of total values. Bulk and bag-in-box recorded a 15% decrease in average price, while bottled and sparkling wines posted noticeable growth.
The 15 main exporting countries closed with significant losses, apart from Argentina, which tripled the volumes exported to China, driven by a strong cut in bulk prices. In the bottled sector, the engine of imports, no one was saved. Starting with Chile, which went from being the leading exporter in terms of volumes to become the third, surpassed by Australia and France, with Spain losing share but remaining in fourth place. Italy, with a 31.5% drop in volume, is in sixth place, behind Argentina, at 25.7 million liters. Here, in a nutshell, are the assets of China’s wine imports in 2020 of the report signed by Oemv-Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (on Chinese customs data), and analyzed by WineNews.

Chinese wine imports in 2020 stood at 430.5 million liters, for 1.616 billion euros, equal to a drop, on 2019, of 29.8% in volume and 25.4% in value, for an average price that grows 6%, at 3.75 euros per liter. Blame the pandemic, of course, but the trend has been negative since 2018. Be that as it may, 2020 began with a 50% collapse in January, which was followed by a rebound in February and March, with growths around 25%. From then on, there were nine months of descent, which led wine imports to China to a 40% drop in the last 3 years, after growing at the rate of +13.4% per year in volume and +22% per year in value since 2000. Going back to 2020, the value of bottled wine fell by 25%, to 1.456 billion euros, that of sparkling wine by 14.9%, to 63 million euros, that of bulk wine by 36.6%, to 80.5 million euros. Compared to 2000, a totally changed market: at that time, in fact, 93.6% of imported wine volumes were bulk, with bottled representing just 2 million liters, which became 550 in 2017, and dropped to 312.5 million in 2017.
As mentioned, only Argentina, among China’s major partners, grows on 2019, by 200% in volume, but just 2.9% in value. Still from a quantitative point of view, Chile collapses (-43%), at 87.8 million liters, surpassed by Australia (104 million liters, -30%) and France, at 100.6 million liters, 30% less than 2019, and less than half of 2017 (230 million liters). In terms of values, Australia confirms its leadership, at 627 million euros (-18%), followed by France, at 446 million euros (-27.8%), and Chile, at 194 million euros (-36.2%). in fact, Australian wine ticks an average price higher than that of French wine, a decidedly uncommon fact in the world wine market. Italy is confirmed in fourth place, at the foot of the podium, with a turnover in China of 101 million euros (-26.7%), followed by Spain, with 85 million euros of wine exported (-33%). It is even worse for countries such as the United States and Portugal, which registered a drop in shipments of over 40%.
Returning to bubbles, 95% of imports are from just five countries, with Italy by far the top supplier, with 4.4 million liters, 44.3% of the total, down 32.8%, ahead of Spain and France, both under 2 million liters. France, however, does far better in values, with 32 million euros, 62% of the total, down just 8% on 2019, while Italy stops at 11.2 million euros. The highlight, of course, is still bottled wine, with 99% of imports tied to the top 15 partner countries. Of these, only Germany closed 2020 with a loss of less than 10%, while France closed its fourth consecutive year in negative territory, dropping from 219 million liters in 2017 to 88.7 last year, so much so that it almost let itself be overtaken by Australia (85.7 million liters, -29%). Australia confirms its leadership in value, with 496 million euros of bottled wine shipped to China in 2020 (-17.5%), with France at 334 million euros (-29.7%). Average prices are growing for both: Australian bottled wine is 5.8 euros per liter, French wine is 3.8 euros per liter. Chilean bottled wine lost almost 30%, at 139.5 million euros, followed by Italian bottled wine, at 72 million euros (-26.6%), slightly more than Spanish bottled wine, which stopped at 66.6 million euros (-32%), followed by bottled wine from Germany, the United States and New Zealand.
Finally, bag-in-box, with the United States still the top exporter to China, despite a 30% drop, with 2 million liters and 2.7 million euros, accounting for 57% of volumes and 43.4% of total values imported from the Asian giant in 2020. In second place is Australia, with 60% growth in bag-in-box volumes shipped, a clear counter-trend, although it is only a niche. And the sector that suffers more than others from the difficulties of 2020, that of bulk, with Chile still the leading exporter in terms of volume, despite a 54.5% drop, to 36.5 million liters, but not in terms of value: with 23 million euros (-59%) it is overtaken by Australia, at 25.8 million euros (-26%). For Argentina, on the other hand, it was an exceptional year, both in terms of quantity - with shipments up 300%, from 8.2 to 34.5 million liters - and in terms of value, from 2.25 to 8.8 million euros.

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