Millennials going dry

One of the most common myths surrounding millennials and younger people, in general, is that they are binge drinkers and that their alcohol consumption is much higher than other generations’. Well, this couldn’t be less true.

In fact, 1 in 5 millennials don’t drink alcohol, making them the biggest generation of teetotalism (source: Morning Advertiser) and they are the less likely of all age groups to be heavy drinkers (source: Mintel). This is probably explained by their health consciousness and them growing up with a lot of communications warning Brits of the danger of excessive alcohol consumption.

What makes millennials such a unique generation is also their duality; the most likely to exercise yet the most likely to like to indulge themselves with food, the most likely to be career driven yet the most likely to want a healthy work/life balance or the savviest shoppers yet the most likely to be ready to pay for goods that are worth it (source: TGI).

And their drinking habits are no exception to this. They may be the least likely to be drinkers, the least frequent drinkers (only 46% of 16-24s drunk in the last week vs 64% of 45-64s, source: Mintel), have a smaller volume of alcohol consumption but when they drink and indulge they go much bigger than older generations. They are the most likely to claim they ‘binge’ on their heaviest drinking day (37% said so vs 10% of 65+ said so, source: Mintel) showing that their alcohol consumption is much more an occasion indulgent moment and not a frequent habit.

Another fact that makes their relationship to alcohol different to other generations is the context and surroundings of its consumption; it seems that for them, drinking is not at the heart of their activity but rather a companion to it. They do enjoy consuming alcohol whilst watching a gig, socialising with friends or watching sports, showing the context and social occasion is key to them. They are also the biggest pub goers of all generations showing that drinking is more a social occasion than a moment they spend by themselves (source: Mintel).

Another difference we can see is the importance of taste in drinking. Not only do they enjoy the taste of alcoholic drinks more than their parents do (source: Soho House interview) but they also prefer to go to pubs to eat out rather than just drink (source: Mintel) showing again their foodie reputation.

Leisure Attractions with age restrictions

Peroni understood this well with their ‘The Taste’ campaign where their mixologist explains the flavours behind the product and their food pairing section on their website.

Another great millennial-focussed campaign is Carlsberg’s chocolate bar that focuses on the insight that millennials are social drinkers and like to experience with drinking. The same can be said for Bacardi when they launched their ‘Night brats’ campaign to go on the night experiences and crowd territory.

So this shows that it is key to go beyond myths when targeting an audience and the importance of looking at the depth and complexity of millennials’ behaviour rather than just looking at volume of frequency or consumption measures.

Millennials have a strong duality and frequently balance seriousness and consciousness with indulgence and pleasure, therefore brands that act the same way and understand this aspect of them will manage to land in this age group’s social and drinking occasions.

Brands that also manage to understand how to tap into the taste and foodie opportunities will manage to connect in a better and cleverer way with this taste-focussed audience.

Check out our Future of Generations research for more insights.


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