Wine sales jumped 16.5 percent on-year during the January-February period this year, pushing up the share of wine to 24.3 percent of the total liquor sales at Emart Mall, figures provided by the company showed. The market share of wine was 18.2 percent last year.
Industry watchers said the rise in consumption is due to the growing number of single households that have taken to buying bottles of wine that are smaller than 750 milliliters, which are cheaper and more easily consumed.
"Wine sales are growing in recent years as the bubble in the price of imported wines has burst and sales of smaller bottles are attracting demand from people living alone," an Emart official said. "We expect a fierce competition among domestic and imported beers and wines in the liquor market this year."
Last year, local discount chains and convenience stores stepped up marketing for budget wines, boosting overall sales.
Sales of sparkling wine soared 32.6 percent, with sales of products in the price range of 20,000 won ($18.7) to 50,000 won expanding 28 percent.
The amount of wine imported surged 41.3 percent to $22.6 million in January this year from a year earlier, according to figures by the Korea International Trade Association.
Korea imported $210 million worth of wine in 2017, up 9.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Office.
Imported wine was one of the fastest growing alcoholic beverage items with a double-digit hike from 2011 to 2013, but its sales growth slowed from 2014 to 2016, with intensifying competition from foreign beer.(Yonhap)