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Under-30s are the big spenders in UK market

Published:  23 July, 2008

Wine drinkers under the age of 30 are spending more per bottle than the over-30s, new Wine Intelligence research has shown.

The other surprising fact that emerged from the seminar Trendy or Traditional: how to make wine for the under-30's, held last Thursday at the LIWSF, was that France is the dominant country of choice among 18- to 24-year-olds.

The research was carried out last month, and included interviews with more than 1,300 regular UK wine consumers. The average on-trade spend for the under-30s was 9 per bottle, and 5.10 in the off-trade. For the over-30s, the figures were 7.50 per bottle in the on-trade and 4.85 in the off-trade.

The research also revealed that young adults tend to be white wine drinkers, with 94% of the 18- to 24-year-old respondents drinking white, and only 57% drinking red. Among 25- to 35-year-olds, the split was 88%/68%, and for 31-years-old and over, it was 83%/75%.

In terms of country of origin drunk most often, France was favourite in the 18-24 age group, at 36%, followed by Australia at 16%, and the USA at 14%.

Among 25- to 30-year-olds, Australia came out on top with 27%, then France just behind with 26%, followed by the USA and Chile, both on 8%.

For the 31-year-old+ market, Australia fared best with 31%, with France second on 24%, and Italy and South Africa joint third on 10%.

Wine Intelligence's Lulie Halstead said there are four factors that motivate the under-30 market.

Social acceptance: People said that wine is what their mum and dad serve, or something they have with Sunday lunch.'

Sociability: Wine is something to be shared.'

Sophistication: There was much talk of wine being seen as a treat, something quite special.'

Safety: Wine is seen as the safe choice, something that won't let you down.'

Wine Intelligence also showed a series of vox pops from consumers under the age of 30, on a range of subjects.

Screwcap wines

They're a lot easier to open.'

I don't like them because they look quite cheap. I'm not comfortable taking them to a dinner party.'

Thoughts on promotions

I tend not to go for two-for-one offers because I don't need two bottles of wine!'

It gives you the chance to taste a few wines that you wouldn't normally drink.'

I'd go for a wine that's on offer, because you get a much more expensive wine for a cheaper price.'

Average spend

I rarely go above 10 and rarely go below 4.'

I'd spend 5 for a bottle at home, but if I was taking a bottle round to a friend's, it'd be nearer 8-10.'

Anywhere between 3.50 and 5.50.'

Wines I like or avoid

I often buy Jacob's Creek Semillon/Chardonnay, or a Fleurie or Cte du Rhne.'

I'm not very adventurous - I usually go for White Zanderfelt [sic] or a Semillon/Chardonnay.'

I stick to Chile or Spain.'

I always go for Pinot Grigio, or on the reds, Merlot.'

In terms of where consumers buy their wine, supermarkets scored well across every age group, but the under-30s buy wine from high-street off-licences and corner shops than the over-30s.

In terms of wine on television, the 18-24 age group is only half as likely to watch a programme about wine regions of the world as the over-30s, although they are the most likely to watch a reality-style show about people developing a new brand and trying to launch it.

And in print, the younger group is three times as likely to buy a magazine dedicated to restaurants and food/wine matching than they are to subscribe to a magazine called Making Wine Simple.

With regard to packaging, the research showed that comical names or label images were a real turnoff for the under-30s, as were young-looking' products.

What is popular is a simple back label, an authentic/sophisticated look and the grape variety clearly displayed.

Halstead concluded the seminar with three golden rules:

1 Avoid being patronising with wording, packaging or products overtly targeted at younger consumers.

2 Remember that younger drinkers are more conservative.

3 Communicate with the under-30s on their terms.