Sunday, October 13, 2013

Millennials Aren't All That

Louis B Shrimperton III "LB3"

I have a large degree of respect for Tom Wark's dog Louis B. Shrimperton III. "LB3" as he likes to be called, serves as Tom's sounding board when Tom writes his daily blog and he's also a Millennial with a distinctive opinion. Having descended from the Flying Nun as you can clearly see by the above resemblance, he's able to give Tom a high-level perspective on things.

On rare occasions Tom writes an interesting blog and he did so this last week writing "Unsubstantiated: Millennials, Wine & the Meme." Tom addresses a pet peeve of mine when reporters and writers repeat equine excrement in what I've referred to as the Millennial Myths. That's the notion that Millennials are driving the wine business. Here's one quote from a newspaper article I cited in a recent blog I penned:
"the U.S. ranks third in total wine consumption, and is gaining rapidly on the leaders. Much of the (3.3% ~ 850,000 case) increase can be attributed to the Millennial generation"
The problem with this quote and an unending string of others ..... they just aren't real or helpful in describing wine business opportunity.

Here's reality:
  • The Millennial Generation even today, represents only around 15% of total wine consumption.
  • Millennials are drinking inexpensive wine.
  • Millennials may or may not be any different than the generations in front of them when it comes to wine drinking.
  • Millennials aren't in their prime spending years and have no wealth or earnings.
Large wine company's selling cheap wine should be marketing to Millennials. Fine wine producers will need to cater to them when they are 35-55 years old and in their prime spending years; not because they are Millennials. The reason to market to them will be because they want and can afford fine wine.

Really something gets lost in the discussion of cohorts: They aren't measured by when they were born. The number of years of each cohort vary by as much as 100%. The cohorts are defined and measured by factors demographers apply over different era's and time periods that "they" think link a generation. Gen X'ers for example are a 10 year cohort while Millennials are about a 20 year cohort. Boomers were a huge birth bubble but Millennials ..... they aren't all that. As a percentage of the population, they are vin ordinaire

The following animated gif courtesy of Calculated Risk demonstrates this important point.

Age Shifts in US Population

Starting in 1950, the chart shows how the US population has evolved. You can see how the wave of Boomers has dominated the US population and how that wave has swept through the decades. They hit those those prime spending years of 35-55 in the 1990's - which not coincidentally was the same time the consumption of wine really took off. 

What about Millennials? Where is that wave? Well ..... there is no wave. We are moving to a period which will have the over 70 age group as the largest, and the rest of the population pretty well disbursed evenly. The Boomers were every marketers best case scenario when that happened. The Millennials wont be. That's just a fact, not an opinion.

Where should the US Wine Business be marketing? Its a pretty easy answer: To whoever will buy their wine. Its not the 70+ cohort because they will consume less even if they can afford it. Its not the Millennials because they can't afford it. Its the Boomers and the forgotten Gen X.

I've been encouraged by recent remarks from the Wine Market Council who is altering their historic evangelical pro-Millennial message:
"Lets get the Industry to focus on high-frequency wine drinkers." (Consumers who are responsible for more than 90% of all high-end wine sales and 40% of all 750ml wine purchases between $10-$20.)
"While Millennials are increasingly important customers, when one looks at the total dollars spent on wine, it's still heavily skewed toward Boomers.... If one is concerned about dollars, Baby Boomers perhaps shouldn't be excluded from one's marketing efforts."
Its a double negative, but I think the Wine Market Council is saying Boomers should be included in one's marketing efforts. That's progress but the argument I've held for years now is the Gen X'ers are the ones being left out of the conversation and yet, they represent the second largest demographic consuming wine today. So what about marketing to Millennials? I suggest you wait until they might have the willingness and capacity to buy the product you produce. I've checked back with LB3 and he tell's me from a high-level, I have an excellent view of the landscape of Millennials. I would have talked a little longer to him, but he just took off.

What do you think? Please log in and offer your opinion and by all means, please share this on your favorite social media platform.


  1. LBSII is a keen observer not only of food crumbs dropped on the floor, but also of demographic trends and she assures me that claim about the GenXers is spot on.

    In fact, LBS has something she wants to personally add:

    ijefwjkfp qw;''mmmpdm wqpowlk;nd q askljdpl;kq [qklelkjfd[ q[pkfpq iojklqwkl;f[

    God damned paws!!!

    1. While LB3 has a bit of an eating disorder, and on occasion ends a sentence with a preposition, he really knows where its at.

  2. If you look at media usage among women over 30 somewhere between 80 & 90 percent is still TV (Cable & Network) and radio (mostly drive time). So the wine business continues to focus on print and with millennials online. The impact of the delusional focus on millennials is probably leading to even weaker wine brands.

    1. Thanks Anon 8:30. This is part of the disservice of the conclusions made about Millennials and the wine business. While Millennials are more tech savvy and better typists than older cohorts, communication is evolving for everyone. None of us used the internet really before 2000. It was there, but not useful. Now we have smartphones instead of landlines and desktops, email instead of snail mail, and social media instead of …. relationships. Talking heads have said for years now that social was the way to engage our audience and they said the audience was Millennials. It’s partially right. Social is “a way” to communicate but its effectiveness is still in question. I don’t question its power. I question the thesis because the platforms under the term “social” continue to evolve. There really is no MySpace anymore. There was no Instagram until recently. SnapChat? What do you do with that? FourSquare …. should have been a home run but so far it’s a foul tip.
      All of us – young and old still communicate through evolving devices and platforms. Technology has given us the opportunity to focus our message and better understand what our customers and prospective customers desire. Our larger problem is not doing an effective job understanding we need to market to those who will buy our wine. That’s the first and most important issue. Millennials aren’t yet moving the needle on fine wine but Gen X is. After that, the next problem is with our messaging itself and defining our brand. After that, it’s keeping up with the ways in which to communicate and understand who we are reaching. That has to come before selecting the channel in which we communicate.

  3. And the brands the Ms will drink when they have $$ 15-20 yrs from now, will not likely be the same brands they drink now. Most who do move up, and not all will move up a lot, will not move up from Ravenswood vintner blend to Ravenswood hi end single vineyards unless the wines actually have merit, not on loyalty.

    1. MAW - Thanks for logging in and chiming in. I totally agree. I've heard so many suggest we need to market to Millennials because they will eventually buy your wine. Equine excrement! Almost none of those who are fine wine drinkers today, started drinking expensive wine from the start. Our palates evolve and we move on. The large wine companies who make gateway wines should be marketing to Millennials as they produce wines for their emerging palates at prices they can afford. That's not the role of a fine wine producer. Young people will grow up. I'm confident in that assertion. Some will remain generic wine lovers, and some will evolve to be fine wine consumers. Almost none of them started as fine wine consumers.

      For what its worth though, overshadowing this whole conversation is the reality that the young people of today have more selection and greater technology from which to select wines. Foreign wine is quite popular with the younger crowd. I have made the suggestion that we consider establishing a Marketing Order for the US Wine Business to market wine as a class. It worked for Raisins, Almonds and Milk. Why not wine? Build the category perception of value and everyone wins.

  4. Millennials may not be driving wine trends at the moment, but they are definitely driving the growth in both craft beer and high end spirits. As the article points out, Millennials are buying inexpensive wine, however, it is concluded that that's because they aren't in their prime spending years. The fact is that wine is the 3rd choice of product in alcohol consumption for their generation. They spend top dollar on Double IPA's, cork finished seasonal and limited release beers and so on. They have no problem spending $50 on a small batch bourbon. Wine simply isn't a priority. They don't view wine as fun and social. They don't see it as a lifestyle choice. To them, it's boring and elitist. Unless the wine industry finds a way to reach them, they will be missing out for the next several years. According to DataSense, 80% of millennials consume alcohol regularly; 10% consume it occasionally; only 10% abstain; meaning 90% of millennials drink. These are the highest consumption numbers in history, and if you discount the millennials now, they will discount you in their "prime spending years."

    1. Robby's22 - Thanks for logging in and sharing your views. Would it surprise you to know that wine has been below beer and spirits for all young drinkers for decades? Would it surprise you to know the growth in spirits is stalling out? I question the generalization that the young people who have no net worth and the highest unemployment have no problem spending $50 on a small batch bourbon. I don't disagree they will buy a bottle like that ... it lasts longer than a bottle of wine which is a consideration. But as a class, Millennials buy inexpensive beer, wine, and spirits. That's a fact.

      I've seen credit card receipt summaries from hundreds of thousands of on-line wine purchases. What it shows is - to your point - Millennials will buy an expensive bottle of wine. Of all the cohorts, they have the highest per bottle spend on-line, but they are also the smallest overall spenders in purchases. Its not just wine. Its in everything. They wont spend what they can't afford.

      Milennials (can we just call them young people?) ... young people are aspirational in their purchases and that's a good sign. When I was a Millennial I was aspirational too. I didn't start even drinking wine really until I was in my early 30's. I didn't care for it.

      Its a total guess, but I believe young people today will evolve in their tastes just like everyone before them, and move away from consuming beer in volume as a mainstay, to making beer a part of a well-balanced diet that includes wine and to a lesser extent spirits, to a point where wine becomes a larger part of their drinking choices.

    2. It wouldn't surprise me to know that wine lags behind in 3rd place for young drinkers and has for many decades. However, market data clearly shows that for over 30 years through Generation X, wine consumption was steadily growing with young drinkers. The millenials are the first generation to reverse the trend....and that's actually shocking and sad when you consider the following trends from MarketingCharts:

      Millenials are27% more likely than the average adult (aged 21 and older) to consider themselves sophisticated, 45% more likely to agree that risk-taking is exciting to them, and 44% more likely to agree that they live a lifestyle that impresses others. Seems as though they’re quite self-satisfied…Shaken and Stirred Millennials are also 19% more likely to be employed full-time and 21% more likely to hold white collar employment. 30% have a college degree of higher.

      So based on this data, wine should be dramatically more appealing to the modern young drinker than it is, but it's not. It also directly challenges what you assert as a fact that Millennials buy inexpensive beer, wine and spirits. Spend some time in a popular bar or club on a Friday or Saturday night, and you'll see their experimentation with expensive beer and mixologists concoctions. Alcohol is something they are happy to spend their disposable income on and they'll pay big dollars to celebrate their image by buying top-shelf products. When you look at IRI data, the low end of the price point spectrum is down in all categories. We already know that 90% of millennials consume alcohol. so if they were truly buying inexpensive product the low end categories would at least be flat or showing some growth. Ask Bud, Miller and Coor's if the Millennials are buying their product. I don't see many millennials walking the grocery store with 1.75 liter house vodkas or gins in their cart. However, I do see them with Moscato and Sweet Red.

      Ultimately, this tells us that wine is missing out on this younger consumer. We don't reach them. They don't identify with wine. Much like a CD player, it belongs to another era. I would like to agree with your assertion that the younger drinker will eventually grow into wine; but we need to start appealing to them now.

      There's an old saying..."if we don't take care of our customers, someone else will." Guess what....the craft brewers and the luxury spirit producers are taking care of the young drinking customer right now.

      I'm also somewhat surprised by your comment that growth in spirits is stalling out. The Beverage Information Group recently reported that the spirits category just enjoyed their 15th consecutive year of growth, closing with 6.3% total growth. This growth was driven by luxury, top-shelf spirits. Young drinker spirit consumption grew by 8.2%; ahead of the category pace.

      I think we all agree that wine has done a very poor job of marketing itself in general, and over the years, they've particularly swung and missed with the young drinker. I laugh at how many wineries talk about about their social media savvy and progressive use of QR codes. Wineries think consumers want to see the winery owner or winemaker standing in a vineyard talking about the good life and how they enjoy this wine during a beautiful fall sunset. Well...guess what....we don't give a crap. We want to know what the wine tastes like and what it goes with. We don't want to watch you patting yourself on the back while walking an idyllic vineyard.

    3. Thanks again for the comments R22. Sincerely appreciate your perspective. Lets just go with this part:

      "Millenials are 27% more likely than the average adult (aged 21 and older) to consider themselves sophisticated, 45% more likely to agree that risk-taking is exciting to them, and 44% more likely to agree that they live a lifestyle that impresses others. Seems as though they’re quite self-satisfied…Shaken and Stirred Millennials are also 19% more likely to be employed full-time and 21% more likely to hold white collar employment. 30% have a college degree of higher."

      These are precisely the kind of sound bites that belie the reality. Millennials are aspirational. Youth are most often more prone to take risks and view themselves in surveys as having it figured out. That kind of statistical analysis doesn't get to any real conclusion.

      Here are facts: Young people have the highest unemployment rate by a magnitude and have the least amount of wealth accumulated by a magnitude. They make the least in income no matter how you slice it. Millennials represent only about 15% of wine purchases of fine wine, slightly less than the 70+ age group.

      Where we agree is that wine marketing needs to improve. For the young consumers, the marketing has to come from a Marketing Order or the large wine companies or both. Fine wine producers aren't able to afford direct marketing to aspiring consumers. Its not a slam on young drinkers, its just the facts.

      The growth rate in spirits is almost zero this year. Wine too, has seen a decline in growth and will fall to the low end of my forecast range this year; the fourth drop in growth in a row. Its still growth but its slowing. Spirits are in a worse condition. Why is that? To paraphrase HW Bush, "Its the economy stupid." Whether old or young, without seeing the middle class come out of this recession, growth rates in most consumer goods will suffer and pricing going out will be difficult.

      It doesn't matter how sophisticated one feels, or how much risk they like to take, or even how much they like fine wine - if they can't afford it, they can't afford it.

    4. First, let me say thank you for the intelligent discourse. I appreciate your insights and responses.

      I am going to continue to disagree with you on two points:

      1. I'm not sure where you are finding your data that says spirits growth is almost zero this year. In fact, current IRI infoscan data through 8/20/13 actually shows spirits growing at 4.4% over the last 52 weeks. On a rather large base, I would call that significant growth. 10 years ago there were 24 distillers classified as craft in the US. Today there are 234. That is significant growth, and it doesn't happen unless consumers are willing to trade up and spend more in their purchasing. With all due respect, market data would indicate that your premise of zero growth in spirits is inaccurate.

      2. I continue to disagree with you on millenial spending habits. Their unemployment rate is 7.8%, but the total national average is 7.3%. Both numbers are too high, but Millenials are not that much higher than the national average. Yes, they make less money, but they also have fewer financial obligations. A recent study from University of Michigan showed that millenials actually have a higher percentage of disposable income than Gen-Xers and Boomers. Craft beer and top-shelf spirits are the luxury categories that bring them the most joy, and it's where they will spend money. I again would suggest that you spend some time in a bar or club that caters to this age group. I think you would be amazed at how they spend their money.

      When we were that age, we had different values, and I think you are concluding that today's 21 - 34 year olds act and behave the same as we did at that age. They don't. They are more sophisticated. They have different priorities. Hipster-ism is in. The folks that would have been the outcasts in our day, are now the center of the universe. I have a 25 year old daughter with lots of friends. I see it everyday. Frankly, I wish we were as socially and culturally advanced as they are when I was that age. Art shows, foreign cinema, cutting edge culinary experiences...these are things that make up their day-to-day lives. These are all things that wine should perfectly complement their lifestyle with. But alas, it doesn't.

      Ultimately, my point is that millennials as a group are driving growth and trends in both the spirits and beer categories as well as fashion, music and most other consumer categories. To discount them out of hand based on assumptions is a mistake. Smart companies are already capturing the hearts and minds of this generation and evolving with them toward the future. Unfortunately, the wine industry continues to discount them. We can all sit around and hope their tastes change "like ours did," or we can actively change our approach to market and try to capture their business. After all, they are going to be someone's customers for the next 40 years.

    5. robbys22, you are spot on!!! As a member of the "Millenial" generation, I can confirm your statements (as my cellar can as well). Millenial investments skew towards the experiential. Smaller houses but more travel, less emphasis on luxury vehicles but more restaurant meals, etc. I won't spend money on cable, but I'll drop $50 on a new bourbon from a small distillery in West Virginia. I won't pay $15 for valet service, but I'll pay $22/glass for a heritage CA winery's biodynamic Pinot Noir.

    6. Thanks for logging in MSS ... and for the comments.

      My point really is to distance the wine conversation from cohorts, and move to other benchmarks, which in a world of Big Data, are more relevelt to wine marketers. For instance, I suggest income level is more meaningful than being 27 to your willingness to buy fine wine. I'm guessing there is a correlation between college graduates and wine purchases above $20 (.... probably has something to do with income as well.). I suggest someone that is 35 and a Millennial, is more correlated to purchasing fine wine, versus a Millennial who is 21.

      What has really gotten lost in the discussion of cohorts and particularly Millennials and Gen X, is how they have been defined. Prior generations had life events that truly defined their being such as the Great Depression, WWII, then the Baby Boom (and wealth creation post-war). Since then, demographers have tried to position subsequent generations with generational influencers like the Vietnam War, or the advent of the internet. While important, those events aren't nearly as defining as the prior ones I mentioned.

      Millennials have "about" a 20 year range versus Gen X with a 10 year range. I say about because even demographers can't agree on when Millennials stop.

      There is no question that younger people have different experiences than older people and will as a result have different values. Reading your post, my guess is you are employed in a well paid job, have a home, are probably in your early 30's, and really love wine. Each of those are better metrics than a Millennial at 21.

    7. To respond to your assessment, I am newly 30, rent, have a degree in a field in which I do not work, and make less than both the median and mean US income as of the 2004 Census Bureau report. And I'm a woman. I'm sharing these details specifically because they contrast with nearly every assertion you've made. I say this in a friendly manner, but I felt compelled to post because my reality is the antithesis of your assertions.

    8. MSS -
      Thanks again for weighing in. My assertion is simply that there are better metrics than cohorts to discern who might be willing to buy. The fact that your're college educated and in your early 30's would be two such factors.

  5. Amen. I hate marketing wine to overprivileged, solipsistic millenials in the Bay Area, but I think something gets lost in the breakdown when the gender consumption gap is ignored. Wine is still a woman's game, and there is huge disparity between the genders when speaking broadly (har har) about wine consumption. It will be a long haul to keep their overstimulated attention spans into their prime buying years, but possible, though unpredictable.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Pietro and for logging in!

      If I had a wine business, I would have no problem marketing to over-privileged Millennials. In fact, the wine business for years has marketed to over-privileged Boomers. Its not really a question about their egos and temperaments, and not at all a treatise on the way they were raised. Its really not about men or women either. Recent work from the Wine Council suggests that men are buying more of the expensive wine and women overall buying more total wine, but that's less helpful that knowing precisely who is a prospective buyer of your wine (no matter the age or sex) and who is buying your wine - and their experience when they buy. All the other terms that get pitched about authenticity, transparency, etc, etc ...... please read Tom Warks Blog mentioned above .... its useless drivel when it comes to marketing to your wine buyers.

      To your last point, the future isn't predictable of course. We only see in that mirror dimly. We can make predictions on the future but few outside of me are ever accurate.

  6. Rob - a great post.

    Taking part of your reply to a comment up at the top:

    "Technology has given us the opportunity to focus our message and better understand what our customers and prospective customers desire. Our larger problem is not doing an effective job understanding we need to market to those who will buy our wine. That’s the first and most important issue... After that, the next problem is with our messaging itself and defining our brand. After that, it’s keeping up with the ways in which to communicate and understand who we are reaching. That has to come before selecting the channel in which we communicate." (a slight edit in the text, please forgive me).

    Your point of first deciding who is going to buy a fine winery's product is spot on. Who is your target market and what are their values? I don't subscribe necessarily to the segmentation method based on age cohorts. Rather, Fine Wine should identify some segmentation where a product position, communication plan and product placement will attract / resonate with the folks who will BUY YOUR PRODUCT. And from there you can build all sorts of value propositions and interactions...

    I'm going through this effort currently. I suspect I may get some Mil's in my net, but I don't know how many /today/ are going to resonate with my positioning. I suspect they will increasingly find their interest aligned with my product as they journey along their own "fine wine evolution". We shall see...

    Keep up the good work and the great blog of information!

    1. Thanks Anon 9:30. Appreciate the kudos. It takes a bit of time to write these things but it forces me to research specific issues and coalesce my thoughts for the State of the Industry Report which ..... I am starting to write this week for an early January release date.

      You hit my view on the head. The discussion shouldn't surround cohorts. While Boomers really were a population bubble, the Millennials aren't a bubble. Looking at population trends - we end up pretty much equalizing ages throughout lifetimes. What is relevent is 1) do they want your product (or can you convince them they want it) 2) Can they afford it.

      I don't really care if someone is a Millennial or a Mature, twenty three or eighty three - if they want or can afford my product, I need to find a value proposition as long as I can do so efficiently. I can't market most products to a single person. Personally, I think there should be more discussion surrounding low alc wines for Matures and capturing what the current batch of 35 - 45 year olds want in a wine and wine experience.

      Lots of opportunity to improve this business and we are all lucky to participate together .... and the occasional LB3 out there.

  7. Just glad to see the conversation turning to reality instead of myth. Marketing wine (or anything else) will always be a more sophisticated game than winery owners want it to be. Thanks. From a Gen X/Baby Boomer on the cusp.

    1. Alana - thanks so much for logging in and participating. I have a ton of folks I know who are in your age band and are core wine drinkers .... their wallets can take it, their palates are evolved, and their livers are still working so they can handle quantity. Maybe that's a study we should take on? Either way - there is always something special about @ girl with a glass so thanks for classing up this joint.

  8. I am a wine consultant, everyday drinker, collector and many other things wine related. I have 2 Millenials (aged 30 and 25) in my family and can say unequivocally that they are VERY wine knowledgable and into it in many ways. Now, some of that is me and my wife's doing but we have certainly not held guns to their heads to drink the stuff either. Both of then have lots of friends who are of like mind and are involved in their fair share of wine-related dinners and events. I would NOT disount them if I were trying to market wine to the general populous - big mistake. Millenials seek bargains with their wine purchases but hell, who doesn't?

    1. Dave - thanks so much for logging in and offering your comments.

      I have two Millennials as children as well and allowed them to try wine with meals from the time they were quite young ... not the sippy cup stage but somewhere thereafter. I have my perspective through their eyes, and the eyes of others close to me at that age. My personal perceptions will bias my views ... they have to. But I do what I can to present factual comment.

      As a wine marketer, I hope you agree that you should market your wine to people who will buy it. I know that some CPG companies like big spirits and cigarette companies try and build images with consumers to be, but they have the money to do that. Family wine companies have to be extremely drilled into their budgets and get the highest current return. Targeting the under 30 crowd won't generate a good ROI. That said, big data is allowing us new ways to target prospective customers so if my search for someone turned up a 23 year old who made $100k a year, had a mortgage, and read a wine magazine - that would be someone I'd go after.

      I do agree with the premise that young people shouldn't be discounted when marketing in a general way - but thats the role of mass producers or, as I've said - a Wine Marketing Order to raise the bar on wine perception acoss the spectrum of age ranges.

    Wine Intelligence released a report on Millennial Wine Consumption in the United States which compared drinkers aged 21-44 to 45+ in terms of both consumption and spending habits. The results are exactly what those of us who say the growth in business from the younger drinker. Obviously, in terms of their report, Gen X is rolled into both the Millennial and Boomer categories, but it would seem those with more disposable income are rolled up with the Boomers so it should even out based on the criteria in your original proposition.

    Here's some of the key comparison stats of 21-44 vs. 45+ from that report:
    21-44 = 86% 45+ = 81%

    21-44 = 79% 45+ = 74%

    21-44 = 30% 45+ = 32%

    21-44 = 49% 45+ = 35%

    21-44 = 16% 45+ = 12&

    21-44 = 11% 45+ = 6%

    A similar pattern followed for other varietals in terms of more awareness and consumption, particularly in Pinot Noir where 57% of 21-44 drank it as opposed to just 37% of 45+. Interestingly enough, consumption of Merlot, Cabernet and Zinfandel was equal between the two.

    Now here's where it gets juicy...check out these spending habits....

    A Relaxing Drink at the End of the Day at Home
    21-44 = $11.93 45+ = $10.54

    With An Informal Meal At Home
    21-44 = $12.40 45+ = $10.86

    Formal Dinner Party At Home
    21-44 = $16.33 45+ = $14.61

    Party Or Celebration At Home
    21-44 = $16.10 45+ = $13.88

    The younger generation is certainly spending more per activity when at home. Great, but what about when dining out....clearly those with more disposable income will eat out more often and spend more as well, right?

    A Relaxing Drink at the End of the Day On Premise
    21-44 = 2.84 45+ = 2.32

    With An Informal Meal On Premise
    21-44 = 2.14 45+ = 1.77

    Formal Dinner Party On Premise
    21-44 = 1.99 45+ = 1.28

    Party Or Celebration At Home
    21-44 = 1.95 45+ = .89 the younger generations are going out more often, but they can't be spending more, right? Wrong again.

    A Relaxing Drink at the End of the Day On Premise
    21-44 = $15.90 45+ = $13.47

    With An Informal Meal On Premise
    21-44 = $17.37 45+ = $15.13

    Formal Dinner Party On Premise
    21-44 = $23.47 45+ = $20.24

    Party Or Celebration On Premise
    21-44 = $23.68 45+ = $20.51

    After several months of research, Wine Intelligence was able to determine that not only is the younger generation spending more than the average bloke would have guessed, they are also spending more often than their more well-heeled counterparts.

    It's hard to wrap our heads around the fact that young people are better, smarter and more adventurous consumers than we were at the same age, and despite economic limitations, this is where they want to spend their money. A brewery owner friend of mine, both of us either a Gen X or a Boomer depending on which definition you use, summed it up perfectly when he said "our generation considers nice homes and fine cars as our statements of luxury. This generations considers fine food & beverage as its defining statement of luxury. And if that's how you define luxury, you can buy a lot more of it."

    1. Anon 1:20
      Thanks for weighing in and participating. I appreciate it.

      Everyone loves to cite stats to prove a point but in many cases, the person citing the stats has a predisposition to a competing truth and uses facts to support their held view, no matter what the real situation is. I don't have a bone to pick with the outcome of the Millennial debate, but I do want my winery clients to understand the landscape as it truly exists. So I do have a predisposition to uncovering reality apart from bias.

      The wine consumption facts surrounding Millennials in particular have been so screwed up for so long, its hard for anyone to get a handle on what's going on. To this day there are still repeated sound bites that get press that are misleading if not false altogether. With all the confusion, I started researching the issue for myself - not with a consumer survey, but by asking wineries what the market share of Millennials are in wine purchases. Then working with Danny Brager of Nielsen was able to find Nielsen research that validated my findings. Since then I have also found two sets of on-line wine purchase records. Each of those data bases show the same thing. Millennials are still the smallest purchase cohort. That's not a statement at all on what they will be, but a statement of where they are now in their wine journey.

      I have a personal relationship with Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence and have exchanged views on this subject as well. He tells me my perspective and research on Millennials is in-line with his own so I suspect there is something askew in how you are positioning the facts here. It could be that you are combining Gen X information and if so, that would explain it as Gen X is the best growth cohort for fine wine purchases today.

      We can each have competing truths. For instance it could be true that Millennials are growing at the highest percentage rate in wine consumption, and also be true they are still the smallest overall purchaser of fine wine. But what is real and what is useful. All I'm doing is offering a consistent view from multiple data bases and people who are focused in research. Even the Wine Market Council who has for years been espousing the wave of Millennials as the salvation to the retirement of Boomers, have shifted their message to focus more on core consumers and acknowledge that Millennials aren't all that .... at least not today.


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