If you think wine shopping in the West is confusing, try choosing a bottle from the aisles of a supermarket in Chengdu
“Wines available on the market are as numerous as sand in the Ganges. A bottle of wine can reach the bottom of the consumer’s heart by having a well thought through label design.”
This is my favourite quote from the focus groups we conducted in China last month. Although I am a researcher day to day, I also enjoy putting myself in the shoes of consumers and trying to understand their views. After walking along the wine aisles in a Chengdu supermarket and browsing on Yesmywine.com trying to shop for wine, I cannot agree more with the respondent we met in China: shopping for wine in China is never a task for the fainthearted. Wine with distinctive label that can give hint on the price, the taste and origin of a wine can be very helpful to identify on the shelf and memory.
Your average consumers can consult the shop staff, who will usually try to sell you a brand that they get the best commission for. The shelf display is not always clear or informative, aside from basic information such as the country of origin flag, price and Chinese brand name. The Chinese name, having been translated from the original language, is in most cases hard to pronounce. Moreover, the majority of these bottles look very similar from the front – lots of gold colouring, detailed and complex font styles, along with the image of chateaux or vineyards. How can I tell that this ‘chateau’ priced at 400RMB is better than the other 80 RMB ‘chateau’? After all of these effort, I maybe be better off giving up or going with the price.
(Wine shelf in Chengdu, China)
(Printscreen of promotion wine on yesmywine.com, June 10th 2015)
Our latest consumer research conducted for the China Label Design 2015 report suggests that Chinese consumers are crying out for something different and becoming more partial to increasingly original, contemporary labels for both formal and informal occasions. Chinese consumers may still revere traditional labels as a safe choice, but these traditional design approaches do not necessarily associate themselves with higher price or higher quality. This could be because most wines in the Chinese market, from the super-premium to the bargain basement, tend to use the same traditional design elements. Over this backdrop, the more contemporary, bold, and idiosyncratic designs have a lot of potential to succeed, so long as they remain elegant and pay some homage to classic cues.
The latest China Label Design report is available to purchase on our website. We have also included analysis of label category performance by the latest China Portrait groups, in order to help brands design labels that target specific consumers in this varied and dynamic market.
Note on the report methodology: this year we tested 8 styles of label categories, designed in conjunction with award-winning international wine label designers Amphora. These labels were rated by 1,000 urban upper middle class drinkers of imported wine from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Shenyang, Wuhan, whose data were collected via Vinitrac® China, Wine Intelligence’s regular survey of Chinese wine drinkers. The different designs were also discussed in focus groups with 36 imported wine drinkers in Beijing and Shanghai, conducted in both online and in-person formats, during March and April 2015.