(Yicai Global) March 23 -- China's wine market will slightly recover in the first half of this year, as consumption jumped during the Chinese New Year holiday, the peak season for alcohol sales, but the off-season began earlier than usual, according to experts.
The domestic wine market may have a single-digit growth in the first six months of 2023 from a year earlier, Yang Zhengjian, head of WBO Wine Business School, told Yicai Global. But the recovery road will be challenging, he added.
Sales began to recover at the end of last year, and the market peak was clear this Chinese New Year holiday compared to the previous two years, but below the pre-pandemic level of 2019, Li Ying, a Shandong province-based wine seller, told Yicai Global. The market's off-season started this month, earlier than in past years, Li noted.
China's wine imports sank 39 percent to 25.4 million liters in the first two months of this year from 2021, data from China's customs agency showed. By value, they fell 19.4 percent to USD180 million.
The wine sold during the Lunar New Year holiday mainly came from existing stock, sellers said to Yicai Global. Many did not make major restocks after the period ended due to market uncertainties.
The minor peak season of wine consumption will usually extend during spring's Food and Drinks Fairs between the middle of March and early April, Zhang Haixiao, general manager at Vinmaison, said to Yicai Global. Weak wine consumption is related to the overall macro-economy environment and people's consumption desires, Zhang added.
Last year was one of the toughest for China's wine industry because the Covid-19 pandemic caused the number of business events and parties to decline significantly, directly affecting the performance of listed Chinese wine firms.
Grace Wine Holdings expects net profit to drop 45 percent to 55 percent in the 12 months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier, it said. The sales volume and performance of the Chinese wine brewer will likely improve this year, benefitting from the domestic economic recovery after China eased Covid-19 controls, it added.
Dynasty Fine Wine Group predicted a net loss of CNY598,000 (USD87,307) for last year, compared to a net profit of CNY7.7 million (USD1.1 million) the year before, according to the firm. Revenue likely fell 27 percent to CNY62.1 million (USD9.1 million), but the market will recover and return to growth this year, it pointed out.
Editors: Shi Yi, Martin Kadiev