history,” says Dan Graham, a vice presi-
dent with the Dechert-Hampe market-
ing consultancy in southern California.
“The question is not so much whether the
Millennials will be like them, but how to
reach them, since they’re so different from
the Boomers.”
The key is understanding—or, first,
trying to identify—those differences. It’s
one thing to market to Millennials with
cute wine names or to approach them
through social media because they use it,
but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
The Millennials may not be as jaundiced
as their older cousins, the Gen Xers (born
between born the mid-1960s and the
early 1980s) about marketing, but they’re
still more wary than the Boomers.
Also important, and often over-
looked: Any discussion of the Millenni-
als must take into account three things.
First, that since the end of World War
II, the U.S. economy experienced un-
precedented growth. Will that continue?
Many of the projections on Millennial
spending assume they’ll have the same
economic opportunities that the Boom-
ers did, and that may not be the case
given what appear to be major structural
changes in the U.S. economy (to say
nothing of ongoing wrangling about gov-
ernment spending).
Second, the Millennials are saddled
with $1 trillion in college debt, which
could limit their spending in a way that
didn’t bother the two older demograph-
ics. One guess is that the Millennials’
penchant for low-cost social events like
Wine Riot and the success of companies
like Groupon represent evidence that
they want to go out but can’t afford the
bars and clubs that the Gen Xers and
Boomers could.
Third, says John Gillespie, president
of Wine Market Council, there appear
to be some differences between younger
Millennials, ages 21-28, and those 28 -36.
The latter, he says, act more like Boom-
ers—more willing to spend money, for
instance. The younger group may change
as it ages, too, but no one knows for sure.
Moving forward, every business look-
ing to capture Millennial dollars needs
to know what sets them apart from the
Boomers—things that take into account
not just demographic but economic and
cultural differences:
How they use technology.
It’s not
just that Millennials (and Gen Xers) are
more tech savvy than Boomers, as Plahut-
nik has seen. It’s that the two demograph-
ics grew up with technology and see it as
a normal part of their life. So it’s not un-
usual for them to Google a product while
they’re shopping, or to text a friend for
information. In this, they don’t see a need
for traditional customer service (which
they’ve never experienced anyway), since
they do it themselves. In their world,
warehouse stores like Costco are the rule
and not the exception, and it shouldn’t
be surprising that 75% of the customers
at Wine.com, the biggest Internet wine
retailer, are between 21 and 49.
Where they shop.
Millennials don’t
shop at grocery stores the way Boomers do,
something that has the national supermar-
ket chains worried, according to the Alix
Jeffries Partners study: “This transforma-
tion has the potential to create a chaotic
marketplace that markedly changes where
and how consumers shop for groceries, as
well as what products they bring home.”
Instead, says Graham, Millennials prefer
retailers that are local and interesting,
hence their fascination with stores like
Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
Local means local.
Community mat-
ters, and a local retailer is not just someone
who is located in the neighborhood, but is
a part of the neighborhood, meaning the
retailer sponsors events, participates in lo-
cal fundraisers and works with neighbor-
hood groups. If the retailer doesn’t meet
Source:WineMarketCouncil
Total core wine drinkers
by generation 2012
Older
Millennials
19%
Millennials
28
Gen X
20
67+
12
Baby
Boomer
40
Younger
Millennials
9%
Source:WineMarketCouncil
driving the consumption rate up among their generation,
as 28% of this segment re[prted drinking wine daily
compared to 19% of the older Millennials.
78
71
56
37
71
66
55
44
64
59
39
28
38
28
16
9
TION 2012
(percentage very/somewhat likely)
LLENNIALS GEN X
BABY
BOOMER
67+
87
88
79
79
82
82
79
72
82
82
75
74
65
69
55
48
75
71
58
39
76
71
55
39
58
56
40
25
48
35
21
14
d GENERATION 2012
(percentage)
22
19
8
22
16
5
20
12
3
21
20
11
18
14
3
22
19
7
Volume consumption
among total
wine Drinkers by generation, 2012
Source:WineMarketCouncil
%
of
Wine
Drinkers
%
Volume
Millennial
29
38
Younger (21-28)
10
14
Older (28-36)
19
24
Gen X
21
21
Baby Boomer
38
32
67+
12
8
n
Restaurant
n
Friend’s Home
n
Other Venues
n
Home
Mi
Dr
Source:
2
n
n
Ho
drivi
as 2
com
core attitudes
by generation, 2012
(percentage completely/somewhat agree)
Source:WineMarketCouncil
MILLENNIALS GEN X
BABY
BOOMER
67+
Y u can buy good wines without
spending a lo of money
88
88
93
93
An opened bottle of wine stays
fresh for 2 to 3 days
72
61
62
64
Less Older Generation
interest and confidence, 2012
(percentage completely/somewhat agree)
Source:WineMarketCouncil
MILLENNIALS GEN X
BABY
BOOMER
67+
I enjoy shopping for wine
85
83
71
61
I like to introduce friends/family
to new brands of wine
78
71
56
37
I am confident I would be able
to correctly differentiate a
glass of Merlot from a glass of
Cabernet Sauvignon
71
66
55
44
I like reading about wine
in books, magazines and
newsletters
64
59
39
28
I worry about making a mistake
when I buy wine
38
28
16
9
WINE DRINKING OCCASIONS
BY GENERATION 2012
(percentage very/somewhat likely)
OCCASION
MILLENNIALS GEN X
BABY
BOOMER
67+
Vol
win
M
G
B
MILLENNIALS:
DEMOGRAPHICS
1...,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,...124