For Immediate Release: Thursday 4 October 2018
Although Chinese wine consumers prefer conventional wine labels in general, new drinkers are open to unconventional labels with bold personality and emphasis on individualism
Wine Intelligence’s recent Wine Label Design in China 2018 report shows that Chinese wine consumers still expect higher quality and price from conventional labels with quality reassurance cues such as imagery of a château or vineyard.
“In the past 5 years, there have been more wine label styles present in the Chinese market, driven by the growth of imported wine,” Research Direct Chuan Zhou comments, “one of the main challenges for this report was to establish a set of label designs to better reflect the range of labels currently available in China.” Partnered with design agency Amphora, Wine Intelligence identified and created a series of label designs to serve as archetypes based on extensive secondary research and store visits: ‘Vineyard Stately’, ‘Traditional Prestigious’, ‘Prestigious’, ‘Classic’, ‘Simple Elegant’, Contemporary’, ‘Artisan’, Vibrant Classic’, ‘Vibrant’ and ‘Bold Illustration’. These ten labels were tested in the Vinitrac® China online survey with 1,000 Chinese urban upper-middle class imported wine drinkers to test their feedback on attractiveness, perceived quality, expected price and suitability for different wine consumption occasions.
The report shows that conventional wine labels ‘Traditional Prestigious’, ‘Vineyard Stately’ and ‘Prestigious’ have the strongest appeal and purchase intent amongst Chinese consumers. These labels are classified by their details and use of château / vineyard imagery or heraldic designs against a neutral background. They are all designed to convey a sense of heritage and prestige.
The ‘Vibrant Classic’ design, with dominant use of red colour, doesn’t perform as well as the conventional wine labels, with a higher proportion of Chinese imported wine drinkers finding the design unattractive than those finding it attractive. Chinese consumers are least likely to buy the red label for a relaxing drink at home or gifting, however, it is ranked 2nd for purchase intent when it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year at home. “I would expect red labels to perform much better given the ‘red obsession’ among Chinese consumers. Although it’s the top choice for celebratory occasions, it’s surprising Chinese consumers don’t consider it for gifting” Zhou comments.
Distinctive labels (for example ‘Bold Illustration’ and ‘Vibrant’) that are far from the conventions of wine label design, often with very bright visuals and non-wine images, are perceived to be the least attractive wine labels with lowest quality in general. However, they are more likely to be purchased for ‘public’ occasions (gifting and big celebrations) than labels that are perceived to be more attractive, especially ‘Simple Elegant’ and ‘Classic’.
Despite the low appeal among all imported wine drinkers in China, unconventional labels have the potential to attract the more engaged wine drinkers and those that are new to the wine category. For example, Adventurous Connoisseurs, who are experimental in their choice and seek excitement from the category, are more likely to purchase ‘Artisan’ for celebrations. Social Newbies, the youngest cohort of the wine drinking population, show preference towards approachable and distinctive designs with bold personality and emphasis on fun and individualism, in particular ‘Vibrant’ and ‘Bold Illustration’.
Research Direct Chuan Zhou comments: “although prestigious labels are still most appealing in China, there is some hope for unconventional labels, which are more likely to be accepted by the new generation of wine drinkers. The key to successful label design for China is not simply using red or the appropriate zodiac animal, but telling a story that resonate with your target audience and create memorability.”