More on those Wine Market Council stats
Tuesday’s Wine Market Council presentation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art took place early in the morning following a night in which most of us got very little sleep. The WMC, working with The Nielsen Company, collects a vast amount of dry-as-dust data, from a multitude of sources, and then looks for patterns that make sense of all these shifting demographic and behavioral trends. The average person would fall asleep within three minutes of the Powerpoint show (and I saw several attendees who did), but for those of us hardcore industry geeks, it’s absolutely fascinating.
The WMC found that people who shop at supermarkets and superstores buy an average of $41 per visit (my number are approximate, as there was no complete handout of the slideshow, so I’m going by memory). But if they add a bottle of wine to the cart, the average purchase amount rises to about $74. This is why every store in the country, from mom-and-pop markets to Costco, wants to sell wine. However, the average price of that bottle of wine is $14, which leaves the extra $19 unaccounted for. I wonder what it goes to? The trimmings for a fancy home-cooked dinner? Flowers? Candles? Higher quality food?
The WMC people (and by the way, Wine Enthusiast helps underwrite the company) also pointed out that, while most of today’s marketing and PR energy seems geared toward Millennials, the fastest growing segment of the population actually continues to be Baby Boomers and seniors. But who is marketing to seniors, the man from Nielsen, Danny Brager, asked. Good question. Companies are marketing Depends, cholesterol meds and Medicare supplementals to seniors, but you never see ad campaigns for wine directed at them. And yet the white-haired crowd still drinks a lot of wine. Seniors would be a good target for wineries small and large (although I could envision a marketing or PR maven arguing, “But we don’t want to be perceived as a wine for old people”). Many wineries are pursuing Millennials and Xers with such gimmicks as animal labels, loud colors, vehicles, crazy designs and pun-like names, but seniors don’t care about that and may in fact be turned off by them. Seniors care about price and quality and they want to feel that the producer thought about them. So, wine marketing managers, don’t write off senior citizens.
This relates to the survery’s most fascinating finding. According to WMC and Nielsen:
I like well-known brands: 1 34
I like to explore new brands: 42 5
In other words, beer drinkers stick with their tried-and-true favorites (Bud Lite, Coors, whatever) and rarely venture outside their comfort zone. Wine drinkers by contrast are 8 times more likely to be adventurous and try something new.
Why? The WMC guys didn’t know, but we can hazard some guesses. It’s because:
1. wine is inherently more interesting than beer.
2. wine changes with each vintage and people know that whereas beer always tastes the same.
3. wine drinkers listen more to gatekeepers, such as critics, than do beer drinkers.
4. wine is so much better with food than beer.
5. there are so many more wine brands than beer brands to choose from.
6. most importantly, wine drinkers are more adventurous than beer drinkers because we’re risk takers, curious, liberal, open to improving ourselves and our lives, smarter (but don’t think we know everything), and more hopeful than beer drinkers, who, for all their charms, are (let’s face it) happiest with a kegger and an ample supply of beer nuts.
Anyway, that’s what I think! It’s great to be back in (relatively) warm Northern California.
Corrections: Michael Mondavi did not attend the recent Wine Star Awards, as I reported. The correct name of the President and CEO of Southern Wine & Spirits is Harvey Chaplin.