Chinese consumers are biggest beer drinkers in the world, says report
LONDON, June 15 — The Chinese have emerged as the biggest consumers of beer in the world, chugging more than double the volume of their nearest rival, the US, according to a new market research report.
For the first time last year, beer consumption in China hit the 50 billion litre mark, says Mintel, growing 29 per cent in volume in the five years leading up to 2011. In value terms, that translates to a 63 per cent increase or €57 billion (RM228 billion) in 2011.
That compares to 24 billion litres of beer consumed in the US; 14 billion litres in Brazil; and 9 billion litres in both Russia and Germany.
As in India and other BRIC countries where people’s disposable incomes are on the rise, Chinese consumers are spending more on small pleasures and indulgences including wine and beer, the latter having become an important beverage for entertaining and socialising.
According to the report, for example, the top reason cited for drinking beer was for socialising with friends and family (73 per cent).
Beer is the drink of choice when dining at banquets and parties among 62 per cent of respondents and for entertaining guests in their homes (61 per cent).
Chinese consumers are also increasingly reaching for a cold one to accompany a meal (44 per cent), as an after-work drink with colleagues (43 per cent) and as a tonic to unwind after a long day (33 per cent).
The most popular brew among drinkers in China is draft beer, but palates also tend to favour more expensive, premium brands, analysts say.
Meanwhile, though winemakers have been aggressively targeting the affluent Chinese market where there’s an insatiable appetite for all things luxury-related, the Mintel report points out that the value growth of wine experienced a 12 per cent drop in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The International Wine & Spirits Research group in the UK predicts that wine consumption in China will grow from four litres per capita a year to 4.4 in 2015. In Italy, meanwhile, wine consumption is 56.1 litres per capita a year. — AFP-Relaxnews