Hong Kong’s wine market has expanded exponentially since it eliminated wine taxes in 2008. After 12 years, where does the market stand?
Here, based on the latest HKTDC report on the local wine market, we have detailed the size of the wine market, number of merchants, its top wine exporters, and its wine trade with mainland China.
How many wine merchants are in Hong Kong?
In 2019, according to the Census and Statistics Department, there were 820 establishments engaging in the import for wholesale of alcoholic drinks, up from 310 in 2008, while in the same period the number of specialised stores making retail sales of alcoholic beverages increased from 140 to 460.
How much wine did Hong Kong import in 2020?
Hong Kong’s wine imports suffered a 14.7% drop in value last year, down from 2019’s HKD 8.8 billion to HKD 7.5 billion (US$966 million). This is the second drop since 2019 following months of protests.
Reeling from an already tepid 2019, Hong Kong’s social distancing measures on restaurants and months of bar closure added more pains to the city’s wine merchants. It means the city’s wine trade is preoccupied with depleting stocks instead of importing.
“Just looking at some facts based on Northeast’s on trade in 2020…at least 6 months of average sales has taken a big hit, based on sectors such as hotels, restaurants, bars & members clubs. Worse affected was Bar – a drop of 85% in mthly sales all the way to Restaurant – a drop of 40% in monthly sales,” Betsy Haynes, Managing Director of Northeast Wines & Spirits, told Vino Joy News.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride where the business was stuck sitting on a lot of stock that the on trade would normally have depleted to scrambling for stock when the social distance rules relaxed for a couple of months,” she added. Founded in 1993, Northeast is a pioneer in introducing New World wines to the city.
“This would definitely affect the imports as it is unknown territory for our industry – juggling between cash flow and inventory has been a constant vicious cycle,” she comments on the import drop.
The import value in comparison to mainland China is still impressive. It’s about half of mainland China’s import value last year (1.6 billion euros) for a city of 7.4 million people, compared to mainland China’s 1.4 billion population.
Read more on next page on Hong Kong’s top wine exporting countries and re-exports to mainland China.