Millennials changing face of wine industry10th October, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Millennials are drinking more wine than previous generations of young consumers, which is forcing the wine industry to rethink its marketing approach.
According to Fox Business, interest in wine from the Millennial generation, also known as “Generation Y”, is leading US winemakers to change not only the types of wine that they are producing, but also their branding and marketing approach.
“Millennials are storming the wine market and they want adventure and demand more transparency from winemakers,” Rowan Gormley, CEO of Naked Wines, told Fox.
“Younger drinkers are picking wines based on the story behind it, how they found it and what unique blend or region it comes from,” he added.
The number of Naked Wines’ customers that fall into the Millennial bracket (people born between 1982 and 2004) has risen steadily over the past few years and now accounts for one third of the company’s sales.
Millennials above the legal drinking age accounted for 25.7% of wine volume sales in the US last year.
“Historically, wine has been marketed to older generations and came with a huge pretense,” Melissa Saunders, owner of wine importer Communal Brands, told Fox.
“But this generation is blowing all of that out of the water. They don’t care about the pretentiousness of a wine, they want something that is authentic and speaks to them. This is a huge marketing opportunity.
“The market for older, stuffier wines that are popular among older drinkers is diminishing and there is a new era coming for wine,” she added.
Chris Fehrnstrom, chief marketing officer for Constellation Brands, puts the number of Millennials of legal drinking age in the US at 62 million.
“Millennials are adopting wine at a faster rate than any other generation. They are experimental, rebellious and crave experiences, so we see this as an opportunity to connect with them,” Fehrnstrom told Fox.
The internet has played an invaluable role in making wine more accessible to Generation Y, and fueling their interest in the industry.
“Millennials are adding wine into their lives on their own terms – they’re not interested in the traditional aspect of wine pairing; they believe there is more than one way to do it and setting their own path,” said Fehrnstrom.
Though with the oldest of the generation having just turned 30, US$20 appears to be the ceiling on what they are willing to splash out on a bottle of wine, with Fehrnstrom describing the $10-12 price bracket as the “sweet spot.”
Both Fehrnstrom and Saunders site social media as a vital platform for connecting with Millennial wine drinkers, with the former favouring Facebook and the latter Twitter as a way of introducing younger consumers to specific brands.