China poised to overtake the UK as the second biggest wine market

China is poised to overtake the UK as the world’s second biggest wine market within the next three years.

New data has revealed that China’s still and sparkling wine market would reach US$21bn compared to US$16bn in the UK by 2020, pushing the UK into the third place in the process.

The data, from the Vinexpo/IWSR Global Study 2015 - 2020, revealed changes in the behaviour of still wine drinkers would result in UK imports falling from 120.9 million 9-litre cases in 2015 to 117.4 million cases by 2020.

In turn, the value of wine sales in the UK would decline to US$15.5bn from US$15.8bn (its highest point in 2015) during the same period, according to the study.

In line with the trend for premium tipples seen across the drinks industry, the research predicted drinkers would continue to choose premium and standard in the run up to 2020, while sales of wines below £5 a bottle would decline by 4%.

“In such a price sensitive market still wines can expect to be dramatically impacted by the result of the EU referendum as the effects of increased consumer caution, economic uncertainty and price increases are felt,” said Vinexpo ceo Guillaume Deglise.

New Zealand and Argentinian wines in particular were set to perform well on the back of the shifting focus to quality over quantity, he added.

In terms of sparkling wine, Prosecco especially would show strong growth with the UK expected to be the leading global growth market for the fizz - showing a rise of 10.8% between 2016-2020 to reach consumption of 8.2 million 9-litre cases by 2020, the research said.

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