They’re young, thirsty, and ready to pop the cork—but Millennials aren’t drinking wine like their parents did. Boomers value the snobbiness of wine, while Millennials care more about authenticity and adventure than luxury, looking to spend an average of $10-12 per bottle.
But Millennials are on the brink of outspending their Boomer predecessors, and will be the dominant group in purchasing power by 2017. Suddenly, luxury products that in the past might have lured consumers and built their brands around exclusivity and lavishness need to prepare for a new generation of consumers who aren’t necessarily looking for an elite-only experience. The industry is shifting to serve the generation that represents one-third of core drinkers, and in doing so, they’re forging new paths in how a previously luxury-focused market can creatively evolve to open up to a consumer with drastically different purchasing values.
New startups are seeing great potential in Millennials as the next generation of winos. Uproot Wines targets the affluent segment of Gen Y with minimalist labelling that graphically represents flavor notes and original blends in limited quantities. Club W sources lower-priced wines using big data to appeal to the “palate profile” of Millennials who can’t afford to buy top-tier wines but still want a regular glass of the good stuff. Other brands are taking the opportunity to think outside the wine box in advertising, forgoing stuffy and bland commercials for more scandalous and humorous fare to appeal to younger drinkers. SLO Down Wines made headlines for their tongue-in-cheek Sexual Chocolate commercials, which outlined the ways their product pairs with threesomes and drugs—a far cry from the traditional wine spot. Here are three other innovative ways that wine is going from highbrow to Millennial-friendly:
Ever wish your holiday shopping could be done with a bottle of booze in hand? Moët & Chandon is making dreams come true, providing a mini-champagne vending machine in the holiday gift section of Selfridges in the U.K. While the vending machine itself looks glossy and high-end, the price is fairly accessible with each bottle costing $29, allowing for an entry-level consumer to partake in the bubbly. Tapping into mainstream ways to sell a previously snooty item could be the playful way to show Millennial consumers that not only is the brand on their level, it wants to be where they are.
Essential Scratch-N-Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert
Let’s face it: wine varieties can be confusing. As Millennials enter the wine-drinking market, they face rows upon rows filled with different wine varieties but little direction for what type they would like. Blindly choosing wines based on their labels or descriptions isn’t a foolproof way for Millennials to understand what they enjoy in wine, so this tool takes wine selection down to their beginner level and encourages young adult drinkers to become more informed. Millennials enjoy becoming experts and sharing facts that others may not know, so giving them the tools to learn while having fun is a great way to engage and help them make future purchase decisions.
We can’t talk about appealing to Millennial consumers without including tech and smartphones in some way. Not surprisingly, several apps have been developed to make wine shopping and drinking a digitally enhanced experience. Drync is one app that has found great success by allowing users to “scan and buy the wine [they] love.” After simply snapping a picture of the label of the bottle with the phone’s camera, the app taps into a database of 1.7 million different wines and provides instant information about where the bottle is from, a user rating, and suggestions from top sommeliers—so even wine-newbies can feel like an expert. Adding this mobile element to a traditional real-world experience puts it in Millennial consumers' comfort zone, and using that mobile tool to help educate and give increased access to the product only helps to demystify it.