2015 marked the year in which the millennial generation, that means young people who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, became the biggest consumer segment yet. Their number surpasses that of any previous generation including generation X and the Baby boomers.
When it comes to consumption behaviour, Millennials also show different patterns. First and foremost Millennials are far more diverse in their choices and in their behaviour. They are used to fast-moving lifestyle trends which means they develop much less brand loyalty than previous generations. This is both an opportunity and a threat for brands. Brands can grow faster thanks to high volume and speed of information sharing, but they can decline just as fast. It will be challenging for the market to recognise which trends will stay and which products are just a fad.
When it comes to differences in wine and spirits consumption compared with previous generations, Millennials love to explore new and different products. They have a strong preference for sweeter wines, like to try new flavours (mostly when it comes to spirits), drink different products depending on the occasion, adore mixing and creating drinks themselves. They enjoy introducing their peers to their favourite products (including via social media) and are environmentally conscious. This means they are willing to pay more for products and brands that are committed to a positive social and environmental impact. It explains why Millennials are attracted by craft products when it comes to spirits, for instance; it also means that wines, being by definition a craft product, should be able to seduce this new consumer. Even though as far now, Millennials have not yet discovered wine as a category of drink they like to experiment with. For the moment Millennials adore craft spirits and beer. Products that have a true and authentic story to tell and that are genuine. Yet even though this may at first sound like a threat to wine producers, Millennials clear preference for products which are crafted, natural and have a story to tell actually represents a huge opportunity for the wine trade, since wine has it all!