Sandwiched between wealthy Baby Boomers and young Millenials, Generation X are big news for wine brands. Currently aged between 37 and 52, this group makes up a quarter of the population of the USA and 20% in the UK. According to Shullman Research, in the USA this group now has 29 percent of the US’s net worth and 31 percent of its income.
Wine brands are quickly realising the importance of this key demographic which is populated by individuals now entering the peaks of their careers. In addition to having above average household income, in the USA this generation has an estimated $2.4 trillion in spending power.
Online wine retailer Wine Access has a wealth of information on generational spending habits. “Wine Access has been around for 25 years as a company, and for the past 15 we’ve been leading the online direct-to-consumer wine retailer wine-selling space, so we have gathered a lot of data, and can trace trends across generations,” explains the company’s CEO, Joe Fisch.
Joe Fisch, CEO of Wine Access, Inc.
According to Fisch, Generation X’s average wine order through the site was 13 percent higher than any other generation between 2017 and 2019. Sales among Millennials have also grown, but Gen Xers still beat this group by an average of 6%. This is borne out in other studies which show that overall Gen X spends 11 percent more than Baby Boomers and 33 percent more than Millennials.
So, how can wine brands appeal to this crucial demographic? Like Millennials, having a strong digital presence is key as 72% of Generation X consumers like to research businesses online. Social media is also important with 95% using Facebook, 35% using LinkedIn to network.
The independent, counter-cultural outlook of many Generation Xers encourages them to seek out interesting wines with authentic stories. “We produce wines with every consumer in mind, but we have found that the Generation X segment in particular is for the best-quality wines at an affordable price, but that they also want to know if there’s an authentic history behind the brand,” says Barbara Darra, global marketing manager of Italy’s Gruppo Mezzacorona.
This demographic also knows a thing or two about wine. “We’ve found that Generation X is extremely well-educated and engaged with the wine community,” explains Matthew Green, national director of Europvin which was founded in 1978 to represent terroir-driven, largely family-owned European estates in the US market.
Eric Jensen, owner and winemaker of Booker Vineyards
Generation X wine consumers are also prepared to pay more for great quality wines. “While we pay attention to Boomers and Millennials, Generation X is by far our biggest segment today and, we think, in the future,” comments Eric Jensen, owner and winemaker of Booker Vineyards in Paso Robles. “They want extremely high-quality wines in the $50-$99 range for reds and $30-$60 for whites.”
Crafting exciting wines with authentic stories that offer great quality are some keys to reaching this key demographic which has enormous potential to offer wine brands who get this formula right.