Why should wine sellers start paying more attention to millennials? The wine industry generates about $62 billion every year, and millennials account for about 42% of wine sales. This is far too big a market for any wine company to ignore.
Unlike previous generations, millennials grew up with much easier access to wine. Not only are millennials more likely to purchase “cheap” wines like canned wine and bag-in-box wine, but they are generally more willing to go farther and spend more on imports, special blends, and exclusive runs of limited-edition wines.
Modern Consumers Need Modern Marketing
Modern millennials who enjoy wine are not following the “traditional” wine marketing methods; they spend more time looking at influencer content on social media. Instead of long-winded reviews from sommeliers and text-rich newsletters, millennials are more likely to pay attention to concise advertisements that get the point across quickly. Social media is absolutely crucial. Millennials prefer companies that offer adventure, human connection, and good stories.
Millennials are also more concerned with intrigue and adventure over expense and the appearance of luxury. Many California wine sellers report that their millennial customers aren’t interested in the expensive and exclusive vintage bottles; they’re more interested in something different than the usual handful of the most popular varieties.
Millennials Love Labels That Pop
On top of social media marketing prowess, authentic advertising, and making personal connections through label branding, wine sellers also need to focus on aesthetics—namely, wine labels and marketing that grab millennials’ attention.
Research shows that front pack labels are the primary factor for a customer to determine the value of a product. One study using a group of millennials in Portland, Oregon found that these customers responded best to features such as label texture, colored sealing foil, label and bottle colors, font, simplicity, and iconography when choosing which wine to purchase.
The study found that wine bottles millennials thought offered the best value had de/embossment features on the label. Bottles millennials thought were “fine wines” were heavier, used foiling, and had textured labels.
Other research on which wine labels pop most to younger consumers found that bright colors–such as reds and oranges–are most attractive, along with other unique elements such as clever, creative, and stylish images. One study resulted in Twin Fin wine voted as the “Most Attractive.” The bottle boasted a colorful photo of a convertible on the beach, along with a bright orange cap.
The more colorful and interesting the label, the more it stands out to millennial wine shoppers. Women in particular prefer creative and eye-catching wine labels, while men responded more robustly to plain and less-colorful labels. Wine sellers can use this information to target a certain audience.
Furthermore, millennial survey respondents said that descriptions of aromas and flavors are the most important information to include on the back of a label. Awards the wine has won and climate information can also increase the odds of making a purchase, as could a romantic story of the wine’s origins (although this factor fell low on the list).
Many wine companies are using even more dramatic marketing methods with their labels. Incorporating humor has become increasingly effective for some brands, while others are using augmented reality as a way for consumers to interact digitally.
Ramping up your labeling and related marketing efforts will grab the right kind of attention from the shelf.
Wine Sellers Need to Change How They Stock Wine
A decade or so ago, many wine sellers could count on their usual varieties comprising the lion’s share of sales. Basic, safe choices typically made up about 70% of an average wine company’s sales, but that number is dwindling rapidly. Now, basic wine offerings may only make up about 30% of sales because millennials aren’t interested in the usual fare that was popular a decade ago. Millennials are making more adventurous wine selections. They want imports and exclusives, and wine sellers all over the country are taking notice.
Previous generations may have relied on wine critics to make their wine-purchasing decisions, but that is not the case for millennials. Modern wine companies need to offer something new, enticing, and adventurous to capture the attention of a young but very discerning market of wine lovers. They prefer authenticity over pretentiousness and often go right to the source and connect with wine companies, distributors, sommeliers, and social media influencers directly.
Modern wine marketers need to capitalize on this audience to capture the massive market share of the wine industry that millennial customers command. Millennials are not like previous generations that valued their wine based on the price paid for it. Marketers can succeed by showcasing sustainability, authenticity, and offering robust backstories to their smaller runs and cheaper wine offerings.
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