Millennials Drink More Alcohol Than Other Age Groups

Millennials are out-drinking other age groups, according to the Wine Market Council and Nielsen data.

Significantly more Millennials (40% more) than the overall adult population drink beer, wine and spirits at least several times a year; only 4% of Millennials drink only wine (not beer or spirits) several times a year or more.

Since 2000, the high-frequency wine drinker segment (defined as those who consume wine several times per week or daily) has more than doubled — from 7.6% of all U.S. LDA (legal drinking age) adults in 2000 to 13% in 2015.

From 2000 through 2005, occasional wine drinkers (defined as those who consume wine once a week or less) surged from 18% to 26% of all U.S. LDA adults. This was driven by a drop in non-adopter adults (those who drink beer and/or spirits but not wine) from 33% of the legal drinking age population to 24%.



Between 2005 and 2010, there was a surge in high-frequency wine drinkers from 7.9% to 13.9% of the LDA population, driven by the Millennials. This also accounted for a decline in the occasional wine drinker population from 26.2% to 20.3%

Between 2010 and 2015, there has been very little movement to wine drinking from the non-adopter segment, but the occasional wine drinker segment has grown slightly, and the high-frequency wine drinker segment has declined slightly due to consolidation of the high frequency wine drinker segment.

Of the total $216 billion consumers annually spend on beverage alcohol (both on and off premise), $104 billion is spent on beer, $80 billion on spirits and $32 billion on wine. Sparkling wine growth is leading in the off-premise wine channel with an 11.7% dollar growth rate in 2015, while table wine is increasing at a 5.2% annual growth rate.

Consumers continue to trade up in their wine selections, leading to double-digit sales gains in wines over $11, and losses for those at the lower ends.

Wine is winning with women. Women account for 57% of wine volume in the U.S. and 51% of females ages 21-24 say organic or sustainably produced products are important when making their purchase decision for wine, while 38% of total females (vs 32% of males) say it’s important for wine.

Meanwhile, 66% of female wine purchases are planned and more women than men are wine drinkers.

Highly involved female wine drinkers are mostly Millennials (and skew toward older Millennials), are more often urban educated professionals, and more ethnically diverse than the typical female wine drinker

Female wine drinkers rated “traditional, classic, and sophisticated" labels more intriguing than other types of labels. 46% of respondents rated this type of label the top two ratings on a 7-point scale that ranged from completely uninterested to very intrigued. 26% of women have purchased wines that have been created for and are marketed specifically to women.

Women are more likely to buy a wine they've never tried before based on the label when browsing or based on a recommendation from friends, family, and off- or on-premise staff, rather than seek out a wine they've read about.

Additional research on women and wine consumption will be unveiled by the council at the California Consumer Research Conference March 10 in Yountville, Calif.

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