China will be a key market for premium spirits in the Travel Retail

According to the latest analysis by International Wine & Spirit Research Drinks Market Analysis, the pandemic highlighted the importance of Chinese consumers to international high-end spirits. During the travel restrictions, purchases have shifted from duty-free zones to the domestic market, while with the resumption of frequent trips by Asian customers, the strategies of premium brands should focus on the Chinese Travel Retail sector, according to experts.

Thorsten Hartmann, director of custom analysis at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said China was one of the few countries where high-status spirits (over $ 100 per bottle) had a relatively good 2020. He also pointed out the two most important reasons for this trend. Firstly, premium spirits bought in duty free zones are considered a trustworthy source of genuine products, and secondly, in China, buying imported spirits is considered a sign of social status.

Chinese consumers spent over USD 2.4 billion in 2020 on imported premium spirits in the Global Travel Retail channel. High-end baijiu continued to dominate the domestic high-quality alcohol market, however, IWSR shows high potential for cognac and Scotch whisky.

According to the director of the IWSR, once international travel is fully resumed, marketing strategies in the domestic and international GTRs targeting the Chinese consumer - linguistically and culturally - will become increasingly relevant.


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