What will be the trends in the South Korean wine market in 2022?

by | Trends | Mar 15, 2022 0 comments

South Korea, with a population of approximately 51.7 million, is the fourth largest economy in Asia. The average alcoholic beverage consumption of Koreans is 10.2L per person per year. Wine imports into South Korea jumped by more than 70% in 2021 to a record high, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS). This makes the country the fastest growing of all Asian markets.

According to YONHAP NEWS AGENCY, in 2021, France was the1st exporter of wine to South Korea (162.6 million dollars),2nd is the United States (81.6 million dollars),3rd Chile (68.6 million dollars),4th Spain (37.9 million dollars).

We see a steady increase in wine imports to this country: Wine imports in 2018 were $244 million; in 2019, $259.3 million; in 2020, $332 million; in 2021, $506.2 million (during the January-November period).

There are 3 reasons for this strong increase in demand for wine:

- Consumers preferred to drink alone at home instead of going to bars or restaurants in a pandemic context, according to KCS.

- Consumers are very concerned about their health. They have looked for less strong alcoholic drinks. In addition, the image of "drinking red wine is good for your health" is highly publicised, according to Business France.

- Business France notes a gradual democratisation of wine consumption which is becoming more accessible although still considered a premium product, as the retail price of imported wine in Korea is quite high due to high distribution costs and strict government regulations. 

South Korea's wine market trends in 2022:

- More and more Korean consumers are paying attention to food and wine pairing. As a result, white wine, rosé wine and sparkling wine are likely to gain market share.

- Wine is benefiting from the "wellness" trend, consumers are looking to consume less but better, they are interested in less strong alcoholic drinks and in natural, organic and biodynamic wines.

- The younger generations and the female population, who are consuming more and more wine, are today the real drivers of the growth in wine consumption, but also of its diversification: grape varieties, appellations, for example IGP Pays d'Oc (+91.4% in volume), IGP Val de Loire (+40% in volume).

- This country was the 17th world market for champagne wines (Comité Champagne, 2021). Champagne is still sought after for special occasions, and is experiencing strong growth: Champagne exports 26.1 M EUR in 2020 vs 13.9 M EUR in 2015.

South Korea is today the 3rd largest Asian wine market (behind China and Japan) and will represent 0.21% of world consumption in 2021 according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). It is a market that is far from having reached maturity, so PWS has decided to follow this market more closely in 2022.