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Alcohol Industry Spotlight: Keep your eye on the Millennial ball

The alcoholic beverage industry needs better ways to uncover complex consumer insights. Our latest research shows that Millennials are a group to watch closely, and their habits are anything but straightforward.

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As an alcoholic beverage company, are you scrambling to understand the up-and-coming Gen Z, with all their unpredictability and massive spending power? While this is an important consumer group, our recent research shows that it’s the Millennials you need to watch closely.

It’s been a perfect (imperfect) storm for Millennials. In addition to the stressors and uncertainties created by the pandemic, they are concerned about money, family welfare, and careers

This is affecting their behaviors, and our recent research asked some pointed questions about alcohol consumption habits. Out of all the participant groups, the consumption habits of those aged 25 to 39 had shifted the most dramatically. They were more likely to be drinking more now than before the pandemic, with stress cited as one of the key reasons for this change.

The complete picture is much more complicated than a simple cause and effect. Drinking habits are layered, complex, and diverse. While 36% of Millennials in the U.S. stated they drank more alcohol during the pandemic, they also increased their consumption of low- and no-alcohol options. In fact, 46% of males in the U.S. responded that they drank more low- and no-alcohol options in the past year than they did previously.

And, American Millennial men aren’t the only ones with a rising interest in low- and no-alcohol drinks. Our research showed that 53% of all people who said they consumed more in the pandemic also said they increased their low- and no-alcohol consumption. 

What does this mean for your consumer insights program in the alcoholic beverage industry?

You must have clear insights that guide your actions to best reach your target audience. The cited study, conducted in the U.S. and U.K. among 1,000 people, showed some interesting emerging trends around Millennial behavior and their consumption of alcoholic beverages. But to deeply understand the motivations and habits of this influential group, conducting your own primary research is essential.

For this study, we wanted to see the differences and similarities among certain groups - another powerful approach for finding the most relevant stories in the data.  We quickly profiled specific groups and compared them with others in Harmoni, which allowed us to see the story emerging for the Millennial alcoholic beverage consumer.

Manually running lots of crosstabs is not efficient or effective. Help is found in smart solutions that perform statistical tests on each descriptor variable, comparing values from a target group with the rest. You can start to see trends when you calculate the probability that the group value is greater (or lower) than the rest of the values. This methodology quickly allows you to compare and contrast key target data groups at speed and scale.

One other key thing you can do to uncover deeper behavioral trends is to analyze multi-level (hierarchical) usage data. For example, this type of data can help you understand the average number of events/occasions per respondent or the number and types of drinks per occasion. Combining data from various levels or various studies for analysis can be challenging and unnecessarily manual. Use smart technology solutions that allow immediate connection of variables from multiple levels and automatic delivery of the most relevant results.

Uncovering the insights in the data from this research must be intuitive - and as fast as the changing consumer landscape.

The alcoholic beverage consumer is complicated and changing, especially those in the Millennial generation. There are always new layers of insights to uncover to help boost understanding and proactively keep your brand on top of the market opportunity. Market research technology solutions that show differences in behavior and sentiment quickly and easily can offer great value for how you approach product development, marketing and communications, and allow you to meet your target audiences where they want to be met.

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