April 18, 2019

The Millennial-ization of premium spirits

Michael Baer // WTF VICE

Millennials are driving change in every category, and alcohol/ spirits is no exception. And the differences in their behaviors and preferences suggest big changes for the future of luxury and premium spirits marketing.

Millennials, in general, buy and spend more on all types of liquor, especially top shelf brands. They typically pay more for a bottle of spirits than any other generation. That’s surprising, as they have lower incomes and net worth than older generations and are likely still identifying their liquor preferences.

This behavior suggests that pricing and new offerings for spirits will move northward—and possibly leave some current premium entrants looking more mainstream.

Problematically, Millennials care a lot less about “brand” than any other generation, according to the Ipsos Affluent Intelligence study, which is the longest running continuously fielded survey measuring attitudes and behaviors of high income shoppers.

Across categories, Ipsos has seen this hunger for the new and different by these shoppers. As such, packaging and labeling can go a long way toward sparking their interest, as Millennials report that they consider the label as much as they do the liquid in the bottle.

Perhaps most surprising, they give little consideration to whether they’ve enjoyed the product before. Instead, the promise of the new, the exciting and the higher end outweighs the guarantee of prior satisfaction. The challenge for manufacturers will be to convey this promise without turning away long term brand users.

Michael Baer is a senior vice president and head of audience measurement at Ipsos.


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What do you consider when purchasing premium (any liquor)?

Millennials Gen X Boomer
What do you consider when purchasing premium (any liquor)? 27% 7% 7%


What do you consider when purchasing premium (any liquor)? 25% 44% 49%


What do you consider when purchasing premium (any liquor)? 1% 17% 29%

Previously enjoyed

(Source: Q4 2018 Ipsos Affluent Intelligence recontact survey among 1,000 U.S. adults.)

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, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, U.S., Ipsos Affluent Intelligence |

Michael Baer is former SVP, Head of Audience Measurement/Ipsos Affluent Intelligence. His focus is helping marketers and publishers understand and activate “Affluencers,” America’s most influential and powerful consumers across every category. For over 25 years, Michael has been an omni-channel marketing/advertising/research leader working at agencies, start-ups and media companies.

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