China Leads The World In Online Alcohol Consumption

The world’s largest beer market, may be buying much of that beer online because China has also become the world’s largest e-commerce market for alcoholic beverages.

Here’s the deal…

According to a IWSR’s recent  e-commerce study, entitled: A strategic roadmap for alcoholic beverages China’s estimated 772 million Internet users are leading the world in buying booze online and there’s no other countries even close to spending that kind of money.

Online booze purchases is currently valued at US$6.1 billion in China, four times the size of that of the US and it’s growing by a mind-blowing 15% annually.

The Chinese online alcoholic beverage market is concentrated, with the leading two players, Tmall and JD.comwhich caters to more upscale consumers), sharing over 70% of the market between them. And according to IWSR, the combined share of these two players is three times the size of all US online alcoholic beverage purchases.

In fact the country’s online alcohol market is also more than three times the size of the next-largest e-commerce markets of France and the United Kingdom.  In spite of the fact that France and the UK are the most mature online markets, taking a higher percentage of off-trade sales.

Vintage Chinese Beer Poster

Not surprisingly the US lags bigtime when it comes to online alcohol purchases, commanding a meager 1% of the world’s activity.

But the United States’ online numbers are still growing at double digit rates as state as federal level restrictions on out-of-state alcohol distribution  start to ease.

France’s online share alcohol sales is the highest at nearly 9% due to the uber-successful development of the ‘click-and-drive’ model by the French supermarkets such as E. Leclerc and Carrefour, according to IWSR.

Also adding to France’s online alcohol sales success is its thriving web-based wine sector, which supports more than 400 specialist e-commerce sites.

Wine and beer are purchased relatively frequently in the UK as part of the online grocery chain shopping programs. There are also many well-established wine retailors in the United Kingdom who have fast-growing web operations.

According to the IWSR’s 2018 survey, online purchase frequency is low in most countries, with only China and the UK having more than 50% of consumers making purchases at least monthly or more. And the primary motivating factor for online alcohol purchases in every country was convenience, ahead of price.

Wine leads in online alcohol purchases globally, commanding almost 60% to 70% share of the activity. Jack Daniel’s leads the pack in terms of online alcoholic beverage brands and Heineken was the leading beer brand.

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