‘Immense opportunity for alcohol brands to engage with US shoppers in store’: IRI

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Alcoholic beverage

While many beverage brands focus their products and marketing on millennials, they may be unknowingly neglecting an ‘enormous portion of consumer dollars’ in the Generation X and baby boomer categories, according to IRI. 

According to its latest report, 40% of alcoholic beverages buyers in the US walk into a store undecided on their purchase, emphasising the importance of in-store signage, creative labeling, and other marketing.

And of the 60% who do have a particular beverage purchase in mind, 21% change their mind in store.

IRI advises that brands need to understand the differences between generations in order to target the right audience effectively.

Cross-generational interest in alcoholic beverages

Consumers across generations show interest in adult beverages, indulging in beer, wine and spirits with ‘regular frequency’ both at home and on premise, says IRI. Meanwhile, drinking at home outperforms on premise (some 66-76% of consumers drink at home at least once a week, while 23-26% drink on premise).

“This regularity creates an immense opportunity for beverage alcohol manufacturers to engage with shoppers while in the store and find new pockets of growth,”​ says IRI.

Similarly, there is an interest in taste and quality over price across all generations: 73-80% of all generations make decisions based on taste rather than price.

Don’t forget baby boomers

Millennials (loosely defined as those born between 1980 and 2000) represent an increasing portion of dollars for the alcoholic beverage category and thus frequently hog the attention of manufacturers and retailers.

But baby boomers (those born in the post WWII baby boom) remain an ‘arguably more economically powerful generation than millennials’: while they only make up 33% of the US population, they account for 50% of category volume. In value terms, they make up 45% of beer, wine and spirits dollar sales, 46% of wine sales, and 41% of sparkling wine sales.  

“Currently, many companies are extremely focused on millennials, to the extent that they unknowingly may be neglecting Generation Xers and baby boomers. In doing so, they are walking away from an enormous portion of consumers’ dollars,” ​says IRI.

Millennials want the most ‘bang for their buck’, looking to flavor innovations, and creative and fun labeling. This is often reflected in their choice of craft beverages. However, a mantra to ‘celebrate the everyday’ means Champagne is also popular among this group (millennials drink twice as much Champagne as any other cohort).

Meanwhile, the tastes of Generation X (the 1960s and 1970s cohort between baby boomers and millennials) show similarities to those of millennials. Generation X makes up 20% of total beer, wine and spirits dollar sales, in line with making up 21% of the US population.

Like millennials, these consumers are experimental and like to try different kinds of alcoholic beverages, both at home and on premise. Both millennials and Generation Xers also prefer bars and restaurants that put a creative spin on the alcoholic drinks they serve.

The label and bottle is also of high importance to these consumers: a third of consumers from both generations said they chose their beverage on this basis.

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