South Korean Market

The South Korean market is, in my view, a very unique market for the interest that the consumer shows in learning more about the history and origin of each wine.

South Korea lies on the continent of Asia. It has about 49,000,000 inhabitants (Source: http://kosis.kr/eng/), and almost the same area as Portugal mainland. The capital, Seoul, is inhabited by 10,000,000 people (Source: http://kosis.kr/eng/), and the metropolitan area by approximately 20,000,000 (Source: http://kosis.kr/eng/). This is a very concentrated market around its capital, and the trade and wine consumption are based on the 20,000,000 that inhabit the metropolitan area. It's an important market, both by the concentration of consumers in the same geographical area, and the strategic location between China and Japan.

The South Korean economy is one of the 20 strongest world economies (Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?), and therefore considered a world capital. This is an economy that attracts many other economies.

The good positioning of a brand of wines in this market works as a "world window", because the amount of consumers of wines that occurs to Seoul is very large (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea). This is a market that behaves somewhat like the Japanese market, where consumers like to find good wines at prices that are not too high.

In the South Korean market, there are good import companies that have their own distribution networks whose, through their organized action, with wines from all over the world. The presence of wines from five continents at the same point of sale is normal, which makes the consumer's decision more demanding.

It's common sense that the relationship with the Asian culture is not an easy task; so the entry into this market requires a very well outlined communication strategy in order to be able to disseminate historical information of each wine brand and therefore attract the consumer's attention, which is crucial to the promotion of the sale. This strategy can, for example, go through a wide consumer awareness through new technologies, like the Internet, widely used by the South Koreans, in particular on their mobile devices, M-Marketing. This factor joins also the natural curiosity of these consumers who seek, immediately, through new technologies available, to find information about the wines they buy, for example, who like it, how was the tasting, who commented on it already and what comment was made, or who is the producer and what kind of information he provides on his web page.

Although there is already a strong presence of wines from all over the world in this market, Portuguese wines have not yet a great expression and are unknown to the vast majority of consumers. This lack of knowledge about the Portuguese wines can be addressed by creating a branding strategy based on the promotion of the wines of Portugal as quality wines. Beside of the wines, olive oil has also great possibilities to be asserted in this market as the South Korean gastronomy is pretty light and with strong tendency for the consumption of products of the Mediterranean diet. The marketing strategy in this market should therefore focus on product quality image.

Another point to note, as a factor to promote, is the curiosity of Asian markets for Portugal's history. There is a mutual fascination of knowledge between East and West (Source: Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages). It is known that at the time of the navigators, only the Portuguese were allowed to negotiate in the sea of Japan, so there is a secular history of trade between the two peoples that makes perfect sense to recover and extol as a liaison.

The South Korean market behaves slowly, stable and enduring if there is a good business relationship. The great difficulty is in how the producer communicates its history and brands to the final consumer. It should also be mentioned that in this market, the international wine press has a great weight and marks trends. In spite of its growth potential, it is important to establish a position of fair price versus quality of wine with the importer/distributor.

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