Much of the discourse about generations and how they influence the wine market focuses on the long reign of Baby Boomers as drivers of the market and the fact that Millennial wine drinkers as a group are now edging ahead in total wine consumption. Soon, as the oldest members of iGeneration reach legal drinking age, a new topic of conversation in the wine industry will emerge, as marketers speculate on the tastes, beverage alcohol preferences, and rates of adoption of wine among this group of 61 million.
Lost in all of this is Generation X. While there are 79 million Millennials in the U.S., and 75 million Baby Boomers, there are merely 49 million members of Generation X. However, their importance to wine marketers has never been greater and continues to grow, as they reach their peak earning years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spending by generation in 2014 was $43,942 for Millennial households, and $58,202 for Baby Boomer households. But for Generation X, average household spending was $63,137. And the same report showed that average household spending on entertainment was highest among Generation X households.
Moreover, Gen X consumers are willing to spend on higher priced wines. A recent report from an online wine seller shows that the average bottle price of wines sold to Generation X customers was higher than that paid by either Millennials or Baby Boomers.
Recent Wine Opinions consumer surveys also point to the importance of Generation X wine drinkers. Among all high frequency wine drinkers surveyed, Generation X wine drinkers have, on average, made more winery visits than Millennials in the past year. And though conversion in tasting rooms to winery club membership is still highest among Baby Boomers, some 35% of Generation X winery visitors in the past year joined a wine club, compared to 24% of Millennials who did so.
Wine marketers – especially those selling wines over $20 – would be well advised to pay attention to consumers between the ages of 40 – 51. They are spending more than any other generation, they spend nearly as much on wine as Baby Boomers, and they are outspending Millennials.