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CHINA: Beer consumption hits record 50bn litres - figures

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Beer consumption in China, the world's biggest beer market, has hit an all-time high of 50bn litres, according to latest figures. 

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Research from Mintel published today (13 June) show that China's beer market grew by 29% in volume terms in the five years to 2011. It hit a record high of 50bn litres in 2011. 

The market grew 63% in value terms over the same period to reach a total market value of RMB454bn (US$71.5bn)in 2011, the research also found. Average value per liter of beer sold has also risen by 27% since 2007. 

Volume growth in China beer sales was also signficant, the report showed. Volumes grew 12% year-on-year in 2011, compared to 6% in 2010. 

"With continued rapid rises in average incomes and the general feel-good factor about China's continued economic growth, consumers are not only drinking more beer, but are also beginning to drink more expensive beers," said Matthew Crabbe, director of China research at Mintel. 

He added: "Consumer confidence has also translated into more people going out to eat, and this caused catering sales to continue to see an increase in significance to overall beer sales compared with retail sales."

However, wine and spirit sales performed less well last well, the research showed. Wine experienced value growth 12% year-on-year in 2011, compared to 52% in 2010. Spirit sales in China saw growth of 24% year-on-year to 2010, but this dropped to 16% in 2011. 

Crabbe added: "The recent drop in growth of wine and spirits sales could leave room open for high-end 'snob-brews' to find new interest. Indeed, the fact that wine and spirit sales have dropped, despite having enjoyed really strong recent growth, makes it the perfect time for premium beers to press the right kind of new interest buttons of the ever-fickle Chinese brand and image-conscious consumers." 

He also suggested brewers could focus more on the female market. "Although beer companies have recently been more actively pursuing the youth market, few have really engaged with female consumers as a group in their own right, who represent a key growth consumer group."


Sectors: Spirits, Wine

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