Interest in the Millennials — the generation born between the late ‘70s and the early ‘90s — is greater than ever among brand marketers. And as the youngest members of this large generation reach legal drinking age, Millennials, who will make up 40% of Americans age 21 and over within the next 10 years, are about to become even more compelling for alcohol brands.
According to Nielsen, one of the biggest differences between Millennials and previous generations is that they are much more open to trying new alcoholic beverages. While most of them still prefer beer, they buy more wine and liquor than previous generations did at the same age. Thus the typical pattern of maturing into buying more wine and spirits later in life may not apply to them.
Nielsen’s research also shows that Millennials also tend to equate price with quality, and that they will be more likely to buy more expensive brands once the economy improves. They are also attracted to buying local brands.
Another huge factor in the Millennials’ alcohol buying profile: multiculturalism. By 2036, the majority of Americans age 21 and over will be multicultural, with large number of Hispanics, in particular. While this may be a factor that unites the generation, the varying preferences of different cultural groups may very well override generational similarities.
One thing that will apply to all Millennials: Using social media will be critical for brands trying to get their messages out.
Winery brands owner Constellation Brands, for example, has a digital marketing team that targets the millennial generation, including a Facebook page for Arbor Mist, a blend of fruit juice and wine, and a YouTube contest for its Black Box wine brand.
HobNob wines, which target 21-to-32-year-olds, primarily employs social marketing, with no print or television advertising. And Millennials are increasingly turning to online resources such as winechanneltv.tv and tv.winelibrary.com to slake their thirst for information – and interaction around wine.
As Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV told Reuters, "If you really want to capture this audience, you've [got] to listen to them and you've got to execute on what they care about."
Alcohol brands will clearly be listening.