Despite the economic downturn in China in 2018, total volume sales of alcoholic drinks remained at the same level as in 2017. Meanwhile, current value sales enjoyed strong growth, particularly in spirits.
The average unit price of alcoholic drinks increased in 2018, with spirits seeing the most significant unit price rise. Meanwhile, beer, wine and RTDs also witnessed unit price rises in 2018, indicating the overall premiumisation trend within overall alcoholic drinks.
Supermarkets, which accounted for over half of overall retail value sales of alcoholic drinks in 2018, and saw an increasing value share, is the largest distribution channel for beer, spirits, RTDs and wine. Food/drink/tobacco specialists also registered a small yet stable increase in its total distribution value, resulting from steady growth of the distribution of other spirits/baijiu in this channel.
Overall alcoholic drinks has a stable competitive landscape, with the top 20 players jointly experiencing a slight total volume share decline in 2018 compared with 2017. The top three players, China Resources Beer (Holdings), Tsingtao Brewery and Anheuser-Busch InBev, have much higher total volume sales and shares than second-tier players such as Beijing Yanjing Brewery, Harbin Brewery Group and Carlsberg.
With most alcoholic drinks categories having already matured in China, total volume sales of alcoholic drinks will continue to stagnate over the forecast period. In addition, with the improvement in health awareness among consumers, demand for alcoholic beverages is stabilising.
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