China Beverage Market

Do you want to have more information about one of the most dynamic beverage markets in the world? … just read this article

1. History of the Chinese beverage industry

In the 1979-1995 period, the market was mainly made of gas beverages, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

From 1996 to 2000, bottled water like Wahaha, Robust, and Nongfushangquan became also very important. Then in 2001, Master Kong’s tea became very popular.  And finally, in 2002, fruit juices made a big entry into the market.

But now, the consumer’s taste has changed, and it is quite difficult for a new product to enter the market.

2. The different beverages present now in the market

  • Water: Nongfu Spring was clearly the leader, followed by Master Kong and Wahaha first, then Uni-president, Robust, and Nestle. These six brands almost shared the market, leaving not so much place to other brands.

In 2012, the volume of bottled drinking water represented 55.6278 million tons, which is an increase of 16.16% compared with 2011.

  • Gas drinks: Even if these beverages’ growth is limited, it is still important: in 2009 the production of gas beverages represented 12.542 million tons.

But in 2012 these beverages take up the largest proportion of soft drinks: In 2012, the volume of gas beverages was 13.1129 million tons, decreasing by 18.38% from 2011. In fact, even if it is, for now, the leading sector, the change in Chinese consumption habits, like wanting more healthy beverages, may predict that their share will continue to decline. But this will take a long time, knowing mainly young people attracted by brands drink these kinds of beverages, and are not ready to stop drinking them.

  • Fruit and vegetable juice: Because Chinese consumers try more and more to find healthy products, fruit beverages have known rapid growth these recent years, and it is said that by 2015, the market will have reached 160 billion yuan. In 2012, the volume of fruit juices and vegetable juices was 22.2917 million tons, which is 16.09% more than in 2011.
fruit juice

About the other beverages, the volume of these drinks reached 39.2077 million tons in 2012, which is 13.76% more than in 2011. These are:

  • Milk beverages: with the rise of the Chinese middle class, the milk products market has been significantly growing these recent years, even if these products are not new on the beverages market. The main brands in 2010 were Wahaha and Robust, selling especially children’s products.
  • Tea beverages: Even if in 2010 there existed almost ten thousand brands in this market, the leader as we said became then Master Kong, which had then 50% market share

 3. What about today (2012-2013) and the future?

In 2012, the volume of China soft drinks is 130.2401 million tons, which is 10.73% more than in 2011. From 2000 to 2012, the volume of China’s soft drinks industry increased by 7 times!

Now, gas drinks, water, fruit and vegetable juices, and tea drinks are the four major categories of soft drinks in China.

But recently new categories appeared: sports drinks (with Mizone and Gatorade as main brands), energy drinks (with Red Bull and Lipovitan as main brands), and vegetable protein drinks (with Jiaduobao and Wong Lo Kat as main brands). They represent a huge potential for Chinese functional drinks.


China Beverage Market

As we said, the proportion of gas drinks should decline, while healthy beverages ( tea drinks, protein beverages, and fruit and vegetable juices)  should become the mainstream of the market quite soon.

Specialists say that the volume of China soft drinks should maintain a growth of over 8%, which should be higher than the growth of the Chinese GDP!

What is obvious anyway in China, is that tap water is not drinkable, Chinese people are used to drinking hot water (boiled) or bottled beverages, which means the soft drinks market in China will surely continue to grow!

Read this article and this article for more details about the beverages market in China

But apart from soft drinks, Chinese consumers also like red wine, read this article on how to promote your wine in the Chinese market and click here to learn how to sell your wine online in China.

More information about the food and beverage market, in our category


Marketing China

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