U.S. wine consumption: the generation effect at work

Monday September 01 2014 by Vitisphere

Age and drink go hand in hand if we are to believe Danny Brager, senior vice president of the Nielsen agency for alcoholic beverages.  Based on a survey* of the U.S. population of legal drinking age (21 years), he points out that "understanding consumer trends by age group can help marketers to shape both their store (off-premise) and restaurant/bar (on-premise) marketing and promotions to each demographic’s interests."  This survey confirms that the decrease in U.S. beer consumption to the benefit of wines and spirits, is mainly being driven by the new drinking habits of the members of Generations X and Y (born, respectively between 1960-1980 and 1980-1990), while the tastes of the baby boomers remained stable. Despite the erosion, beer remains the top alcoholic beverage consumed in the U.S., by over 50% of the population, across all generations. Beer’s success is tied to the product’s attributes ("refreshing", "delicious and smooth taste", etc.) and its approachability,"I make my choice regardless of others." The latter attribute tends to be less associated with wine as not everyone is familiar with wine drinking cues (Generation X tending to respond to promotions, baby boomers relying on the advice of friends and family, etc).  All consumers are willing to try new wines, particularly imported wines (Italy, New Zealand, etc), or simply to try wine for the first time.

*: Survey of 41,000 consumers in late 2013. 

[Photo: WSTA]

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