It was only a matter of time before China developed a sweet tooth comparable to the West. According to market researching firm Mintel, Chinese consumers spent approximately $1.1 billion on chocolate last year, and between 2010 and 2014 the market will expand by 11 percent.
Luxury chocolatier Godiva is looking to ride in and snag that growing market. “China is less than 5 percent of our revenue, but it’s the fastest-growing piece of the puzzle,” Godiva CEO Jim Goldman said. The company is set to double the number of boutiques it currently has in China this year, aiming for 30 Chinese stores by the end of 2012. Goldman also said that Godiva may have 100 Chinese stores in three or four years.
The Chinese are already growing accustomed to shelling out big bucks for premium chocolate. Godiva’s assortment box sells for $210, while two dozen truffles set the Chinese consumer back just $103, according to the pricing for Godiva’s Chinese online store. The brand also plans to offer van delivery in Shanghai for orders placed at the online store.
Goldman said, “This year we’re on a good pace as well despite the challenges in the world” and called Godiva’s duty-free business “particularly dynamic.” And even if Chinese consumers are shy about buying such luscious chocolates for themselves, they are incredibly popular as gifts. Dark chocolate is also much more popular in China than milk chocolate, at least in part because of dark chocolate’s healthier associations.
North America is still Godiva’s biggest sweetheart, accounting for half the company’s revenue with the United States being its biggest market. However, Godiva is also re-imagining its products to suit local tastes in China, creating Zodiac-themed chocolates and releasing its own line of moon cakes. Currently, the biggest dark chocolate brand in China is Mars Inc.’s Dove line with a 43 percent share of the market in 2010, according to Mintel.
photo credit: godiva