Millennials are Increasingly Open to Buying Beer in New Retail Environments

BY Rachel Cagle
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"The market hears about fragmentation quite a bit, but its effects can’t be underestimated—even in categories that have historically boasted clearly defined paths-​to-​purchase, says Nielsen. Today, information is everywhere, choice is rampant, and even the most traditional consumer journeys are shifting."

"The alcoholic beverage category in the U.S. is a perfect example. Not too long ago, consumers would either consume at their favorite restaurant or bar, or they would grab a six pack on their way home or to a party. Today, the abundance of information, places to make purchases and variety of products available are making it increasingly challenging to stay ahead on the retail front."

"At a very high level, factors like shifting demographics, stagnant wages, health and wellness trends, fewer drink-​led occasions and declining big brands are playing a part in decelerating alcoholic beverage growth."

"In the case of beer, an over-​abundance of products is a factor as well, and the number of beers available continues to grow (1,398 at year-​end 2017 vs. 1,336 in 2014). But the real factor affecting choice is how many places consumers can buy alcohol. In fact, the number of places (on- and off-​premise) that sell alcoholic beverages in the U.S. grew by more than 100,000 between 2007 and 2017 (528,594 vs. 644,647)."

"The expansion of new drinking outlets could be good for the overall alcoholic beverage market, but it could also present new challenges for traditional establishments. To date, however, many consumers are not visiting new options instead of traditional ones. For example, 63% of millennials say that visiting a brewery did not replace a visit to another establishment that serves alcohol. In looking at the popularity and growth of options like dart clubs, movie theaters, social ping pong establishments—even axe throwing bars—that appeal to younger generations, traditional channels may see further declines if they don’t adapt to new consumer preferences."

"Many industries and categories have learned from successes elsewhere and applied them to overcome their own hurdles. The same can be done with alcoholic beverages."

"In an environment where there is an increasing amount of food-​led events, retailers can propose food pairings—both on menus and in stores where alcohol is sold. Traditional bars and taverns could also benefit from partnering with food trucks."

Beer and wine festivals are also a growing trend. About 17.8% of U.S. adults want to attend these kinds of festivities within the next year, according to AudienceSCAN. Beer and wine festival attendees are 30% more likely than other adults to be between the ages of 25 and 34, 56% more likely to be single, but cohabiting with a significant other and 31% more likely to have children under the age of two.

"Health and wellness is another trend that Americans are very focused on. And there are ways for alcohol retailers to tap into this movement. Running clubs, for example, are an easy, inexpensive way to engage customers, particularly on weekday evenings. Retailers can also learn from wineries and breweries that have started offering yoga and other exercise events directly on site. And it goes without saying that providing the right pairing of low-​calorie, low-​carb, healthy food options will go a long way in appealing to health-​conscious consumers."

Beer and wine festival attendees are no exception to this trend. According to AudienceSCAN, 30.6% of this audience plans to buy activewear within the next year, and they're 88% more likely than other adults to purchase sporting goods and equipment within that same period of time.

"When it comes to meeting consumer desires for convenience and a unique experience:

  • Explore the shipping and delivery options;
  • Consider wine or beer of the month clubs;
  • Offer the right product mix, including small pack sizes, to give customers the opportunity to explore and try new products; and
  • Think about creating an experience or activity where customers will also come to drink. What about the next rooftop curling bar?

Once you have your game plan set, how do you promote it? TV is the best way to get your message to beer and wine festival attendees, according to AudienceSCAN, because it's where 17.8% of this group learns about nearby events and 69.1% took action after seeing ads on TV. They're also 53% more likely than other adults to find ads of social networks useful and 36.4% of them will also share a good experience with a business on social media to further spread word of the business or event.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.