Indian wine consumption getting interesting

India getting interesting   

India Wine Insider 2017: The Consumer Outlook report is out. It contains some interesting information. Wine consumption is low but opportunity for growth is considerable. There are 808 million people under the age of 35.

The legal drinking age of 25 is high compared with Western cultures. But there are 485 million people above this age. Wine consumption is low. According to the report, “2-3 million consumers consume a total 24 million litres”.

Sales of alcohol are on the increase (9 per cent CAGR 2009-14):

  • Spirits: up 7 per cent
  • Beer: up 10 per cent
  • Wine: up 12 per cent

About 80 per cent of wine is consumed in urban centres. The market is dominated by domestic wine, driven by lower price and availability. Imported wine is hampered by high taxes and trade barriers.

Awareness of various aspects of wine is very much in its early stages, even among those who drink it:

  • Less than 20 per cent consumers seemed aware of any region of origin other than Nashik and Bangalore
  • 28 per cent of consumers were not aware of a single grape variety
  • Shiraz and cabernet among red, and chardonnay and pinot grigio among whites, were the most popular varieties

This is telling: “Price is most important when selecting wine (off-trade). Fewer than 20 per cent rely on shopkeeper recommendations. Reserve, Chateau, Superior on labels have lesser influence than familiarity of brand name.”

Wine is increasingly becoming a family drink at home. In the on-premise it is more often ordered by the glass than the bottle.

There are similarities with China: “More expensive wines are poured at business meetings, parties and for gifting to set a favourable impression.”

Female consumption is encouraging and it’s a segment of the market not to be ignored. India holds promise but it looks to be a lot of hard work. China 15 years ago?

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