When the Wine Market Council released it’s 2012 Market Forecast, the numbers looked encouraging. Overall table wine consumption increased in 2011. Core consumers (those who enjoy wine at least once a week) tally up 58% of the wine drinking population. Of those, 65% drink wine daily or several time a week.
There’s a great deal more basic data, most of it positive for the industry, but what is beginning to take shape as the numbers get parsed and digested is the marked consumption behavior differences based on age.
Millenials (ages 21-34) are showing behavior splits within themselves. Older Millenials (26-34) are highly engaged wine drinkers with 65% drinking wine daily or several times a week. Their younger counterparts come in at around 50% showing similar behavior. The difference is evidenced by age, but the reasons may also be influenced by economics. younger Millenials are hardest hit by our economic downturn, and view wine more as a special occasion experience as the skew higher in preferring spirit consumption.
Social media engagement by wine drinkers is also on the rise. Leading the way are the High End wine consumers, with a strong 60% reporting they used social media as a means of finding information about wine. As might be expected, the Baby Boomers were the least engaged with wine online (26%). Again, there was a strong difference in behavior between young and older Millennials (40% for younger vs 52%, older Millenials). Gen X (35-46) engagement with wine online is strong at 40%.
As we look at age, consider the hot wine-of-the-moment Muscato (and other sweet reds) which experienced a sharp increase in 2011 (up 73%), driven largely by younger drinkers. This trend is being compared to the (then) young Baby Boomers discovering wine in the 1960’s. Do you remember Sweet Roses or Lancers or Mateus? These sweet and easy wines were the entre for a generation that ultimately fueled the American love affair with Chardonnay and Merlot in the 80’s and 90’s.
All this data is strong support for the bright future of the wine industry. But the behavior differences within generational groups point to a need for wine marketers to consider their audience as being made up of different segments, with different behaviors, rather than simply “wine consumers.”
– Bradley Fitzhenry, Brand Manager, MJR Creative Group
Bradley on Google+