Chinese wine consumers use the internet and social media to source information far more than their western counterparts, according to new research.
Three quarters of wine consumers surveyed by research company Wine Intelligence said they often go online to look for wine information, with 62% frequently using social media as a source.
These ‘highly wired’ consumers are far less likely to rely on the recommendations of shop staff (32%) or word of mouth from friends and family (39%).
Wine Intelligence said the research, taken from interviews with more than 1,000 Chinese upper middle class drinkers of imported wine, offered a ‘dramatic’ contrast with western countries, where word of mouth is considered far more important.
The company added that new wine consumers in China were increasingly reliant on the digital world to learn more about wine, with an estimated 13m Chinese adults frequently accessing information online.
Popular sites included Baidu, the country’s largest internet search engine, and wine information website Winechina.cn.
Among the most popular search terms related to new vintage releases, reviews, and information on wine and food matches.
‘Today’s imported wine drinker in China is highly wired and comfortable in using the digital world to learn more about wine,’ said Maria Troein, lead author of the report and senior project executive at Wine Intelligence.
‘This online dominance also reflects the degree to which imported wine drinkers are still a relatively small and exclusive group in China, similar to “lead users” in other countries who use the internet to find and connect with others who are interested in wine.’
Written by Richard Woodard