A survey carried out by the IWSR and Wine Intelligence* for the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris trade exhibition**, shines the spotlight on wine consumption in France across the generations. While several fundamental aspects vary only slightly or not at all, other patterns differ depending on age. We take a look at how drinking habits vary from Baby Boomers through to Millennials.
- How does consumption vary with age?
- What colour and types of wine are drunk?
- Where are wines drunk?
- How significant are endorsements?
How does consumption vary with age?
Predictably, the research reveals that the older we get, the more often we drink. Baby Boomers (aged 55 and over) account for almost one in two wine consumers in France (47%). They drink wine much more frequently than other generations: 33% of them say they drink wine at least 3 to 5 times a week. This compares to 25% for Generation X (40-54 years old), 21% for Millennials (25-39 years old) and 7% for Generation Z (18-24). Average monthly consumption is 9.6 times for Baby Boomers, falling to around 7 for the younger generations.
While the decline in consumption, particularly among 18-39 year olds, has been a source of concern for every strand of the industry for several decades, the research reveals that they represent 28% of wine consumers in France. This is a far cry from their expected disenchantment with wine. For 46% of them, wine consumption is more festive, favoured for social occasions and viewed as something to share with friends and family. Exploration is particularly important to this generation, which does not necessarily have any definite habits and prefers to discover new flavours and new food and wine pairings.
Another surprise is that 40-54 year olds represent 25% of wine consumers in France, and therefore drink less than 18-39 year olds (28%). 52% of them choose wine to enhance food and are willing to try new and different wines on a regular basis (59%).
What colour and types of wine are drunk?
Softer and sweeter white wines such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon are favoured by 18-39 year olds. 40-54 year olds have a more balanced repertoire of red, white and rosé wines, whilst Boomers are particularly focused on red wines (54%), especially Merlot. They also enjoy dessert wines, more so than the younger generations.
Where are wines drunk?
While 90% of consumers across the age groups say they drink wine in restaurants, Generation Z accounts for 49% of spending in bars and cafés. Purchasing channels are fairly representative of young people, as 53% of 18-24s and 49% of 25-39s say they buy wine through e-commerce. Generation X prefers wine merchants, buying 44% of their wines in wine stores. For Boomers, 46% of their wine consumption is based on routine purchases and is more geared towards everyday meals.
How significant are endorsements?
The power of persuasion of endorsements is particularly high and distinctive among young consumers, as 55% of Generation Z and 53% of Millennials say they pay attention to the AB or organic trust mark, which is rated as the most attractive endorsement for buying wine.
As the research points out: “In France, lifestyle and wine span the generations, with sharing and discovery uppermost in people’s minds”.
Source: Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, ©Angelov/Adobestock
* Survey conducted in April 2022 among 1,023 respondents in France
** The 4th Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris exhibition takes place from 13 to 15 February 2023