US: Millennials blur category lines as alcohol volumes dip - figures
Younger consumers are more likely to move between categories
Total alcoholic beverage volumes in the US dipped last year, but companies found value growth as consumers continued to premiumise, a new study has shown.
Beer declines drove the overall 1% volumes drop, to 7.6bn gallons, in 2013, according to Technomic figures released late yesterday (13 March). However, a “modest” sales increase for beer, along with solid jumps for wines and spirits saw overall alcoholic beverage sales in the US climb by 1.7% in value terms, to US$204.2bn.
Technomic said 2013 showed increased competition between wine, spirits and beer as consumers, especially younger LDA ones, increasingly moved between categories.
“The combination of rapidly-changing consumer taste preferences and a sluggish economy is creating ever more intense competition for adult beverage occasions," said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at Technomic. “Today's consumers - especially millennials - have a broad drink portfolio that involves spirits, wine and beer, with flavour and occasion as key factors in the what-to-drink decision. Never before has the battle for share of glass been so intense.”
Mainstream domestic and light beer volumes declined by 2.4% and 3.5%, respectively, but craft increased by 9.6% and imported beer found 2% volumes growth, driven by beer brands from Mexico.
In what Technomic said was a “first in decades”, growth in whiskies outperformed non-whiskies. The sector increased its volumes by 2.9% while non-whisk(e)y spirits were up just 0.9% because of a slowdown in vodka. “Brown spirits outperforming white spirits indicates a major shift in the American palate," Crecca said.
The numbers come from Technomic's 2014 State of the Industry Report, which covers the on- and off-trade in the US.
A Technomic report released in October said the US beer sector saw a return to growth in 2012, driven by the continued rise of craft beer and premium products.
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