With their sense of adventure and desire to try new experiences, Millennials are an important consumer category: but it is Gen X that will dominate fine wine consumption in the US in the near future.
Not only do these consumers spend the most on wine annually, but they are also the most likely to buy higher-priced wines regularly and engage with wine through wine clubs.
Tomorrow’s wine consumer
Wine Access surveyed 1,800 fine wine consumers across the US to understand the trends in today’s market place.
As expected, millennials are a key consumer group: leading the emergence of a ‘golden age’ for wine thanks to their adventurous attitudes and the desire to spend money on experiences rather than material items.
Of those surveyed, 65% make the effort to seek out rare and unusual wines and vintages, while 75% wish they could spend more on wine.
However, it is Gen X (the cohort following baby boomers but preceding millennials) that is the most important for fine wine. On average Gen X fine wine consumers spend $5,717 on wine annually, Baby Boomers spend $4,900 and Millennials spend $4,163.
“As much as millennials have been driving growth in the market, the findings also underscore how important Gen X will be to the fine wine market over the coming years,” says the report from Wine Access.
“As their careers – and incomes – grow, it is Gen X who will take over from the Baby Boomer generation as the dominant fine-wine consuming demographic.”
For example, Gen X are the most likely to spend $70 on a bottle of wine on more than one occasion a month, and are the most engaged in wine clubs and growing wine cellars.
“Typically, this generation takes the time to appreciate the nuances in wine and tends to understand the value of spending more,” says Wine Access. “This group is also more likely to have more disposable income than millennials.”
Meanwhile, wine is broadening its reach as it becomes more focused on connectivity, social media and travel. Coverage in mainstream media is increasing, for example, while wine regions such as California are seeing a boom in tourism.
“With the ongoing trend of visual mediums and connectivity via social media, tourism in wine countries is booming and wine is more accessible than ever.
"The quality of wine production has drastically increased over the past decade, and the wine industry itself is much more visible, transparent and accessible.
"Traditional wine consumers are now becoming adventurous connoisseurs, experimenting and expanding their palates.”
Wine Access concludes the future for the fine wine market is bright: “The good news is the market is headed up. The more complex answer is that the market is shifting as it grows, and business looking to capitalize on this growth need to understand who their consumer is today, tomorrow and in five years from now”.