French firm bullish on China market

Updated: November 5, 2020 Source: China Daily
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Remy Cointreau, one of the world's leading producers of wines and spirits, is bullish on China's flourishing spirits market, seeing huge growth potential in the world's second-largest economy, and the French firm will accelerate its layout via e-commerce platforms.

China is among the top three markets in the company's global business portfolio and is growing very fast, with huge development potential as imported spirits only account for a small proportion in China, said Nicolas Beckers, CEO of Remy Cointreau in China.

He said Remy Cointreau is quite confident on the Chinese market because there are not many markets in the world returning to growth. The company is making its debut at the China International Import Expo held in Shanghai.

Beckers said Chinese consumers desire high-end or premium products, and they have launched some tailor-made products, such as Remy Martin Club, to cater to the tastes of Chinese consumers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, company sales revenue fell in March, April and May. Since June, its sales began to recover.

"Now we are back to growth again," said Beckers, adding that they have seen robust growth since the Mid-Autumn Festival promotion period last month.

The spirits market in China is flourishing as incomes for the Chinese incomes rise. According to a report from Daxue Consulting, apart from baijiu-a potent clear liquor that still dominates the Chinese spirits market-Western spirits like whiskey and brandy enjoy increasing influence on Chinese consumers' alcohol choices.

"I would like the company to be much more consumer or client-centric, being closer to the customer," Beckers said, adding that the company is committed to be a leader in the high-end spirits market and continue to expand its presence in China's e-commerce sales channels.

Remy Cointreau has paid attention to the rapid development of China's online retail market in recent years, and opened flagship stores on major e-channels like JD and Tmall.

He said that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, more and more online retailers have turned to livestreaming events to boost sales. "It (livestreaming) is a good way for us, not only to sell our products, but also to tell the stories, and to explain where we come from, why we are different and how to drink and enjoy," he said.

Euromonitor International, a market research company, said after the decline in value sales recorded in China this year, spirits will soon return to positive growth in 2021 and continue to see positive performance throughout the rest of the review period.

The consultancy said global spirits makers are joining forces with Chinese distilleries to build stronger awareness among Chinese consumers.

Beckers said Remy Cointreau will consolidate the dominant position of cognac in China, and he found more and more people are fond of cocktails, single malt whisky and champagne, which are also three important categories that the company will develop in the future.

"The unshakable leading position of baijiu does not mean the alcohol category has remained unchanged. The growth of Western spirits and the shift in purchase channels remind current players to stay vigilant," said Xu Ruyi, head of reports for North Asia at research firm Mintel.

Editor: Liu Ting