‘Marked decline’ in US millennials drinking wine is ‘wake-up’ for the industry

A new report showing millennials in the US are turning away from wine as the growth rate in the world’s largest and “most exciting” market slows down, should be a “wake-up” for the industry.

The Wine Intelligence US Landscapes 2019 report, published today, found there was a “marked decline” in the frequency that wine (and alcohol generally) was drunk among people aged under 35, with around 3 million people aged 21-35 falling out of the category.

It backs up anecdotal evidence suggesting that the wine industry was losing traction among younger drinkers, despite their willingness to experiment, trade up and embrace a wider repertoire of drinks.

Overall the number of regular drinkers in the US aged under 55 has fallen from 88 million in 2015 to 84 million in 2018, despite the population of adults of drinking age rising over the same period.

It estimates that currently only 35% of all adults above the legal drinking age were drinking wine at least once a month, with this figure likely to be much lower among the key 21-35 year old demographic, compared to the growing proportion of drinkers aged more than 55.

Engagement and confidence with wine was also falling, it said.

The report argued there were opportunities that needed to be grasped, as younger consumers were both seeking differentiation and were more willing to experiment, gravitating towards innovative products and alternative wine types such as organic and lower-alcohol wine, or new format, such as wine in a can.

Lulie Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence, said the report should be seen as a “wake-up call” to the industry’s biggest and most exciting wine market:

“As a category we need to realize we are in a pitched battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation. They are becoming less connected with alcohol generally, for a variety of health and lifestyle reasons. When they do choose alcohol, they now have diverse and interesting offers in spirits, beer and cider.”

“This report should be seen as a wake-up call to our industry’s biggest and most exciting wine market.”

“The anecdotal information coming from the trade in the past year or so has suggested that the wine category might be losing traction with its younger drinkers, and the data for this report supports this view.”

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