Wine set for growth in South Korea’s On Premise

New research from CGA by NIQ reveals some significant changes in consumers’ drinks tastes in South Korea—including growing interest in wine.

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The latest Consumer Pulse Report, CGA’s regular ‘temperature check’ of the On Premise and the market-leading tracker of people’s behaviour, reveals the ongoing popularity of the country’s bars and restaurants. Nine in ten (89%) consumers told the May survey they have been out to eat in the last month, while just over half (53%) had been out to drink—and both numbers were up by two percentage points from April. Four in five (80%) said they had been going out either more often than usual or with the same frequency. 


The report highlights South Korean consumers’ interest in trying new venues and drinks. Among those going out more often than usual, two in five (40%) said it was because there were new places they want to try. However, inflation continues to restrict other people’s visits, and more than two in five of those who were going out less blamed rising menu prices (45%) and cost of living increases (41%).  


Beer and soju remain the two most popular drinks in South Korea, with 59% and 48% of consumers choosing them in the last month respectively. While only a fifth (18%) have purchased wine in the last month, 22% of consumers think wine has the potential to be the next big trend in drinking out—more than for categories like cocktails (15%) and soft drinks (13%). One in six (16%) says they would choose wine if their usual drinks choice wasn’t available.  


The Consumer Pulse Report explores ways to attract consumers to new trends like and now and low alcohol options. Word of mouth is crucial, with two in five (42%) consumers discovering new trends from friends or family, while 28% get their leads from social media. Advertisements (26%) and in-venue promotions (24%) are among other effective tactics.  


It’s important to target the right venues too, and the survey shows 31% of consumers are likely to try new drinks categories or brands in Korean BBQ restaurants—the most popular destination ahead of beer speciality stores (22%) and traditional Korean restaurants (20%). Recommending drinks that pair best with food—like wine—can boost trial and trade-ups. 


Jaepil Sohn, CGA by NIQ’s client solutions director, South Korea, said: “It’s good to see some positive trends in visits to South Korea’s bars and restaurants, and it’s clear that a lot of consumers are eager to try new drinks brands and venues. There are some great opportunities to secure trial and loyalty across both food-led and drink-led occasions, and unlock the potential of under-explored categories like wine and no and low alcohol. However, with fierce competition and many consumers still cautious about their spending, it will be crucial to track people’s latest preferences and respond accordingly. Suppliers that can craft compelling marketing strategies and create memorable, good-value and shareable experiences will be well placed to reach more consumers and keep their brands at the front of people’s minds over the rest of 2024.” 

CGA’s expert On Premise insights provides in-depth analysis of consumers’ engagement by category, channel, occasion and much more. It is trusted by leading beverage companies globally and led by On Premise experts to deliver unparalleled insights that give businesses a competitive advantage. To learn more about the suite of solutions, contact Jaepil Sohn here. 

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