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Canadian Brewers Missing Out on World’s Most Lucrative Market

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

As more craft brewers come online in Canada, and Canadians continue to reduce their beer consumption, many local beer markets are becoming increasingly saturated. Interprovincial and US markets likewise have very competitive environments for high-quality craft beer. For Canadian brewers to continue to grow, they will need to look to other markets. And there is one, bigger than any other, that is largely untapped by Canadian brewers: Chinese e-commerce.

Valued at nearly $18 trillion, the Chinese market is the second largest in the world. With 842 million Chinese people shopping online, China also has the largest e-commerce market globally, generating over 52 percent of the world's transactions, more than North America's and Europe's combined. And this growth shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

“China's e-commerce sales are expected to be 52 percent of the country's more than $6 trillion in retail sales, making it the first country in the world ever to have more online sales than traditional retail sales,” says Calvin Xiao, founder of Catalystx, a Canadian international marketing management firm specializing in Canadian to Chinese e-commerce trade.

So far in 2022, Chinese people have spent over $130 billion US on beer consumption and represent 12 percent of the world’s beer market. China is also one of the few places in the world where the beer market is growing fairly rapidly at 5 percent annually, and the most likely place the Chinese consumer will make that purchase is online.

“Chinese consumers are very tech-savvy, and 55 percent of Chinese alcohol consumers are ordering online,” says Xiao.

With the development of the Chinese economy and improving living standards, Chinese consumers’ purchasing habits are dramatically changing as younger generations search for products with a unique taste, high quality, and freshness. Canadian craft beer fits this profile perfectly.