(This is the brief summary of a presentation given for SwissCham Singapore, the local Swiss business association, on 6thJune 2018)
Most of the consumer trends we see today in the world of wine are initiated and driven by millennial drinkers. They are certainly the major force in the Chinese market, as we have seen in our previous post.
Globally millennials want to imbibe less alcohol than previous generations, but they also look for a higher quality drinking experience.
Millennials are more informed shoppers thanks to digitalized access to information, and they see wine from a holistic perspective, encompassing not only their own health and well-being, but also wider issues of social responsibility and ecological sustainability. They are in many ways the most sophisticated wine-drinking generation ever.
Wine is generally associated with lifestyle and sophistication: this is for example a powerful motivator for younger women in China. It is however true the world over, as shown for example in the extraordinary success of Prosecco in the US and to some extent the UK as a drink denoting Italian stylishness and indulgent celebration, at a more accessible price point.
A consumer focus on wellness and health is equally important in this respect. In China this means an almost exclusive focus on red wine, in Western market the fashion for organic, vegan or ‘natural’ wines, as well as increasing consumer interest for low-alcohol wines. This all is supported by growing evidence about the health benefits of a moderate wine consumption.
Health concerns go hand in hand with a growing interest in less known regions and grapes. This is to an extent consequence of consumer saturation with wines engineered to suit a supposed ‘international style’. It is also part of a wider consumer trends towards locally produced, idiosyncratic goods with a well-defined identity.
There is thus a strong preoccupation about environmental sustainability that underscores all these trends. Many, even very large, industrial wine producers have already shifted to sustainable, organic or even biodynamic farming for many years. The topic of gentle environmental footprint and sustainability is of great importance to winemakers and consumers alike.