Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Alcohol gift set sales expected to rise

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

A local importer prepares wine for attendees during a press conference promoting wines produced in the US states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Sales of wine and spirit gift sets for Lunar New Year are expected to see an increase of up to 30 percent from a year ago, thanks to the economic recovery this year, industry officials said yesterday.

"Our first week's sales of Lunar New Year gift sets have risen by 20 percent year-on-year," said Crystin Chiang (江敏慧), general manager of Drinks Wine & Spirits Co (橡木桶洋酒).

Drinks Wine & Spirits, Taiwan's largest retailer of imported wines and spirits with 30 outlets nationwide, began promoting its Lunar New Year gift sets around one week ago.

"We expect that sales per day may shoot up to NT$8 million after January, and monthly sales during the peak time will triple sales in a conventional month," Chiang said.

Taiwan's market for Lunar New Year wine and liquor gift sets is worth an estimated NT$5 billion this year, a 20 percent rise compared to last year, said the industry veteran. Traditionally, Taiwanese offer presents to friends during both the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays.

"This is a lucrative market, accounting for nearly 30 percent of our annaul NT$2 billion revenue," Chiang said.

Corning Wine House (康寧酒藏), which operates 22 outlets in department stores, has prepared 50,000 gift sets costing from NT$700 to NT$30,000 for this year's sales.

The company has gift packages of various types of alcoholic beverages, 40 percent of which are whisky-based sets, 30 percent cognac sets and 30 percent red or white wine gift sets.

The best selling commodities are priced between NT$1,000 to NT$3,000.

"The gift-set sales make up about 20 percent of our NT$300 million annual turnover," said Corning's marketing manager Vivian Chin (靳蔚文).

"We are optimistic that the business this year will grow by over 30 percent compared to last year, as customers may want to spend a little more money on their gift packages this time -- after the SARS epidemic earlier this year," Chin said.

Besides wine and liquor retailers, hypermarkets also sell gift sets at low prices ina na attempt to expand their customer base.

"We launched wine and liquor gift sets in late November, and have seen sales rise by 10 percent to 15 percent year-on-year," said Conny Huang (黃冠怡), RT-Mart's (大潤發) marketing specialist.

RT-Mart, the nation's second-largest hypermarket chain with 22 outlets, offers consumers 27 types of gift sets, with a total of 70,000 sets for sale -- 20,000 more than last year.

"A whisky gift set priced at NT$299 is the most popular commodity so far," Huang said.

The company expects the upsurge of the gift-set sales to last through the spring wine celebrations traditionally held by companies after the Lunar New Year as a good omen for the year's business, Huang added.

Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣菸酒公司), which was privatized last year, is also ambitious to take a share of the lucrative market this year.

The company offers up to 19 kinds of gift sets and hopes to create up to NT$400 million for the sales of gift sets this year.

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