Millennials are expected to become the world’s largest consumer group within the next 10 years, thanks to being the children of the baby boomer generation. Already in the United States of America (USA), they are the largest working population, with 56 million working or looking for work in 2017, compared with 53 million Gen X-ers.
In terms of wine trends, here are some tips for the products most likely to please millennials in their Christmas stockings this season.
Tip 1: An experience (or at least a voucher for one)
Millennial consumers are more motivated by experiences than products than older consumers – especially personalised experiences and those that can be shared on social media. For wine, this means adding value around the product to create an immersive experience, according to Dr Violet Lazarevic, head of customer behaviour and data from Endeavour Drinks Group. Good examples of this are bespoke tastings, wine and food matching, and vineyard or winery tours offered at the cellar door. Make them bookable in advance online and you’ve created the perfect easy-to-buy gift.
Tip 2: Something with bubbles
Sparkling wine consumption is growing at a faster rate than still wine consumption – particularly in the USA and the United Kingdom (UK) – two of the world’s largest sparkling wine markets. While these markets are dominated by Italian and French products, millennials in particular are more adventurous and willing to explore a range of new products in the category, according to recent Wine Intelligence research, presenting opportunities for Australian sparkling wines.
Tip 3: Sustainable credentials
Millennials are strongly motivated by perceived social and environmental responsibility in the products they choose. Wine Intelligence has found that younger consumers are more likely than older ones to actively seek wines with organic and/or sustainable credentials across most wine markets. For example, in the USA, 27 per cent of ‘Engaged Explorers’ – the consumer group dominated by millennials – had sought to purchase organic wine in the past six months, compared with 12 per cent across all age groups.
Tip 4: Something different
Millennials ‘shop promiscuously’ according to Angela Woo, Alter Agents – that is, they have little brand loyalty and are highly motivated to try new, innovative products.
IRI predicts that ‘wine needs to break the shackles of tradition to sustain cultural currency’ over the next few years, pointing to examples such as new blends, new packaging formats, new labelling, and combinations of wine with other drinks including cider and spirits.
What a millennial doesn’t want
One final word of caution: best not to explicitly market your offering as being ‘for millennials’ as only 40 per cent of this group self-identifies as being part of this generation, and millennials are also less likely than other generations to view their own generation in a positive light.
 Defined as being born between 1980 and 1996, also known as Gen Y
 Pew Research Centre analysis of USA Census Bureau data 2017
 Presentation at Direct Impact conference in Adelaide, September 2018
 Wine Intelligence US and UK Sparkling Wine reports 2018
 Wine Intelligence US Portraits 2018
 Forbes – Understanding the research on millennial shopping behaviors, June 2018
 IRI – Australian retail trends in wine 2018
 Pew Research Centre survey 2015