Cognac brand deepens its ties with Chinese liquor customers

Client profile

The client was a premium French Cognac brand with over 100 years of history and a global presence. The company had been present in China for decades and operated its own physical stores in Tier-1 cities.


In 2020, the client reached out to Daxue Consulting to acquire a more precise understanding of its local customers in order to better direct its future marketing efforts.

Research process & methodology

To understand the client’s consumer base in China, the research team used in-depth interviews with end-consumers and distributors. The interviewee segmentation was based on the sales performance per city provided by
the client.

  1. Core: A city that represented nearly representing half of the client’s revenue in Mainland China.
  2. Secondary: Cities representing between 12% and 17% of the brand’s sales volume in China.
  3. Tertiary: Composed of tier-1 and new tier-1 cities that were expected to stand as future sales
    drivers for cognac brands due to their higher exposition to the Western lifestyle and drinking habits

The research team conducted consumer in-depth interviews focused on analyzing the following metrics:

  • Demographic Profile: Gender, age, income level, geographic locations, etc.
  • Decision-Making Process: Such as consumers’ expectations towards cognac in general, perceptions towards the client’s brand, as well as how they learnt about the brands.
  • Purchase & Consumption Behavior: Consumers’ purchase and consumption behaviors (i.e. self-consumption vs. gifting), preferred channels, and other in-store behaviors.

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of cognac consumers, the team conducted in-depth interviews distributors. This included on-trade distributors like hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, along with off-trade distributors like wine and spirits stores, and duty free stores.

The research from step one combined with added insights on consumers from the perspective of distributors allowed us to identify common behavioral patterns across participant profiles.


The research team presented the customer profile, their decision making journey, and their purchasing behavior to the client’s management team. Based on the insights derived, Daxue Consulting made suggestions related to the brand, the product, and the channels.