Millennial consumers (21- 30 year olds) and their thirst for new experiences have a clear impact on their alcoholic beverage choices, according to a new study by The Nielsen Company. In the most comprehensive study to date of the alcoholic beverage preferences of the U.S. Millennial generation, Nielsen finds that Millennial consumers frequently seek new tastes and are willing to pay a premium for alcoholic beverages.
Also known as “The Next Great Generation,” the 70 million Millennials outnumber Generation Xers (31 – 44 years old) by nearly 25 million and are nearly as large as the approximately 77 million Baby Boomers (45 – 65 years old) in the U.S.
“The Millennials are primed to be an extremely influential group,” said Richard Hurst, senior vice president of Beverage Alcohol at ACNielsen, a service of The Nielsen Company. “At the beginning of their careers, Millennials are discovering the world and have control over their money and time in ways their predecessors never did. A sizeable group with many purchasing years ahead of them, understanding what they’re buying, why they’re buying, where they’re buying and how they’re buying represents an enormous opportunity for today’s manufacturers and retailers.”
Alcoholic beverage preferences for the 21 – 30 year old age group are clearly changing. Ten years ago, beer accounted for 59 percent of this group’s alcoholic beverage spending; this number has shrunk 12 percentage points to 47 percent as wine and spirits purchases have grown in relatively equal proportions.
Millennials tend to prefer red wines (51 percent of volume) more so than older consumers (approximately 44 percent). Among red wines, Cabernet and Pinot Noir have the most distinct skew towards Millennials while Chardonnay remains the most popular white wine across all ages. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings account for a higher share of Millennials’ wine purchases compared to the over 30 population.
While most Millennials consider themselves as novices or only slightly knowledgeable about wine, approximately one-third (34 percent) of Millennials are interested in learning more – – an “education” opportunity for wineries.