The Chinese Beverage Landscape: Nonalcoholic beverage | Tractus


This article is part of a series exploring the beverage industry in China. For a comprehensive global market overview, refer to The Chinese Beverage Landscape: Market Overview, The Chinese Beverage Landscape: Alcoholic Beverage and The Chinese Beverage Landscape: Imported Beverage articles.

China’s non-alcoholic beverage industry is a thriving and diverse market, that has experienced significant growth in recent years. With a wide range of products and evolving consumer preferences, the industry offers many opportunities for domestic and international players.

Beverage Market Overview

China’s bottled water market showcases a variety of product types. Purified water ranks first with a 35.2% market share, followed by natural water with 28% and mineral water with 18.5%. The country’s fruit juice market has witnessed exceptional growth, reaching an impressive market size of 204 billion USD in 2022. Moreover, China has become the world leader in coffee consumption, exceeding 2% of the rest of the world combined. Energy drinks have also gained popularity, with a staggering consumption of 2.95 billion liters in 2022.

Source: Tractus Research, Daxue Consulting, CBN Data, Euromonitor, ChinaBaoGao

Market Trends and Growth Opportunities

One notable trend in the industry is the rise of sugar-free beverages. The market size for sugar-free beverages grew seven-fold from 2014 to 2020, reaching 1.71 billion USD. Forecasts show that it will further increase, reaching an estimated RMB 22.74 billion (approximately US$3.31 billion) by 2025. Another trend is the preference for hot beverages during the winter season. Approximately 54.7% of Chinese consumers opt for hot beverages, leading to a market size exceeding 100 billion RMB. The hot coffee category is forecasted to experience the fastest value and volume growth between 2022 and 2027. Furthermore, online sales contributed 6% of the total revenue in the hot drinks market in 2022, indicating the increasing significance of e-commerce platforms.

Source: Tractus Research, Global Data, Euromonitor, 36kr, Statista, Retailinasia

Consumer Preferences and Behavior

Chinese consumers display distinct preferences when it comes to hot beverages. Hot coffee holds a significant share, with 43.9% of consumers favoring it, followed closely by room temperature coffee at 43.1%. Frozen coffee has a smaller audience in comparison. Additionally, sales of plant-based drinks on Tmall 618 reached 119.549 million yuan in 2022, indicating a growing interest in healthier and more sustainable options. On the other hand, the sugar reduction trend has impacted drinks with chocolate-based flavored powder, causing a decline in their popularity.

Source: Tractus Research, Daxue Consulting, CBN Data, Euromonitor, ChinaBaoGao, Food daily, Lead Leo, iiMedia Research

China’s non-alcoholic beverage industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving market. The data points highlighted in this article underscore the industry’s remarkable growth, diverse product offerings, and shifting consumer preferences. As the market continues to grow, there are many opportunities for businesses to capitalize on new trends and meet the evolving demands of Chinese consumers. Whether it’s a thriving fruit juice market, growing interest in sugar-free beverages, or rising hot coffee consumption, China’s non-alcoholic beverage industry offers a promising future for both local and international players.

As the Chinese beverage market continues to evolve and grow, it is crucial for beverage manufacturers and industrials to stay up to date with the latest trends, regulatory changes, and consumer behaviors in order to remain competitive. At Tractus, we have extensive experience and expertise in helping companies navigate the complex Chinese market. Our team can assist with market research, supply chain optimization, regulatory compliance, and more to ensure success in the Chinese beverage market.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business thrive in China.

Authored by

Herminio Andres is the General Manager of the Chinese office based in Shanghai; and Cathy Gu is a Senior Research Analyst based in the Shanghai office.

Latest Insights

Cash-Rich MNCs Eye Acquisitions in Southeast Asia and Taiwan in 2024 as Family Business Valuations Ease

Cash-rich multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly looking towards Southeast Asia and Taiwan for potential acquisition ...

India’s Medical Device Sector: Market Insights and Opportunities for Foreign Investors

The medical device sector in India is currently experiencing more growth than it has seen in the last decade due to the diversified ...