The Asian-Pacific Beer Market Slows Down Against Lower Demand for Imported Beer in China - Global Trade Magazine
  October 13th, 2020 | Written by

The Asian-Pacific Beer Market Slows Down Against Lower Demand for Imported Beer in China

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  • In value terms, beer imports rose modestly to $2.5B (IndexBox estimates) in 2019. 
  • From 2013 to 2019, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value in China totaled +25.6%.
  • China represented the main importer of beer made from malt (excluding non-alcoholic beer) in Asia-Pacific.

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘Asia-Pacific – Beer Made From Malt (Excluding Non-Alcoholic Beer) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The Asia-Pacific beer market contracted modestly to $52.2B in 2019, shrinking by -1.8% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 with an increase of 12% year-to-year. As a result, consumption reached a peak level of $56.4B. From 2018 to 2019, the growth of the market remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Consumption by Country

China (58M tonnes) remains the largest beer consuming country in Asia-Pacific, comprising approx. 78% of the total volume. Moreover, beer consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, Japan (2.6M tonnes), more than tenfold. South Korea (2.4M tonnes) ranked third in terms of total consumption with a 3.2% share.

In China, beer consumption increased at an average annual rate of +2.3% over the period from 2013-2019. In other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Japan (-1.6% per year) and South Korea (+2.4% per year).

In value terms, China ($36.1B) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Australia ($2.7B). It was followed by Japan.

The countries with the highest levels of beer per capita consumption in 2019 were Australia (82 kg per person), South Korea (47 kg per person) and China (40 kg per person).

Production in Asia-Pacific

For the fifth consecutive year, Asia-Pacific recorded growth in the production of beer made from malt (excluding non-alcoholic beer), which increased by 2.9% to 73M tonnes in 2019. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.0% over the period from 2013 to 2019; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. As a result, production attained the peak volume and is likely to continue growing in the immediate term.

Production by Country

China (58M tonnes) constituted the country with the largest volume of beer production, accounting for 79% of total volume. Moreover, beer production in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, Japan (2.6M tonnes), more than tenfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by Thailand (2.3M tonnes), with a 3.1% share.

In China, beer production increased at an average annual rate of +2.2% over the period from 2013-2019. The remaining producing countries recorded the following average annual rates of production growth: Japan (-1.4% per year) and Thailand (+0.1% per year).

Imports in Asia-Pacific

Beer imports rose significantly to 2.7M tonnes in 2019, increasing by 5.3% compared with 2018 figures. Total imports indicated a strong expansion from 2013 to 2019: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +9.0% over the last six years. In value terms, beer imports rose modestly to $2.5B (IndexBox estimates) in 2019.

This tangible figure was shaped by the rapid growth of beer imports in China over the last five years. Rapid urbanization, rising consumer incomes, as well as the increasing popularity of Western-style cuisine and fast-food in large cities all constitute the key prerequisites for the growing demand for imported beer.

Imports by Country

China represented the main importer of beer made from malt (excluding non-alcoholic beer) in Asia-Pacific, with the volume of imports resulting at 836K tonnes, which was near 31% of total imports in 2019. It was distantly followed by Australia (383K tonnes), South Korea (372K tonnes), Taiwan (Chinese) (194K tonnes), Myanmar (151K tonnes), Hong Kong SAR (147K tonnes) and Singapore (139K tonnes), together creating a 51% share of total imports.

China was also the fastest-growing in terms of the beer made from malt (excluding non-alcoholic beer) imports, with a CAGR of +28.5% from 2013 to 2019. At the same time, South Korea (+22.4%), Taiwan (Chinese) (+4.5%) and Australia (+3.6%) displayed positive paces of growth. Hong Kong SAR and Myanmar experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Singapore (-3.9%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

However, in 2019, the growth of Chinese beer imports lost its momentum, which is largely attributed to a slowdown in the economy, rising political tensions and the expansion of the domestic beer industry. In 2020, it is not expected that import should recover because the COVID pandemic hit severely the HoReCa sector, hampered the growth of incomes, and to some extent disrupted international supply chains.

After the pandemic wanes, it may be difficult for foreign brands to recover their market presence against local manufacturers which rapidly take every vacant market segment. This is particularly relevant for large cities where Western ex-pats commonly live – the rising trade wars undermine the growth of foreign business in China thereby the number of foreign citizens working in China is not likely to grow tangibly. Because those people shape the demand for imported beer, the growth of imports is to be hampered by these circumstances.

In value terms, China ($909M) constitutes the largest market for imported beer made from malt (excluding non-alcoholic beer) in Asia-Pacific, comprising 36% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Australia ($359M), with a 14% share of total imports. It was followed by South Korea, with a 11% share.

From 2013 to 2019, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value in China totaled +25.6%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Australia (+2.4% per year) and South Korea (+21.0% per year).

Import Prices by Country

The beer import price in Asia-Pacific stood at $929 per tonne in 2019, declining by -3.5% against the previous year. Overall, the import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2018 an increase of 3.9% year-to-year. Over the period under review, import prices reached the peak figure at $992 per tonne in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2019, import prices failed to regain the momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was China ($1,087 per tonne), while Myanmar ($588 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Hong Kong SAR, while the other leaders experienced a decline in the import price figures.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform