Why Are Millennials Drinking Less—and What Does It Mean For Brands?

Drinking less is trending among young consumers. But why are they making moderation a growing movement, and what does it mean?

A moderation trend has been taking hold among young consumers, who are increasingly laying off booze. Take Dry January. A full 37% of 21-36-year-olds told us that they planned to participate in Dry January this year, an increase from 24% who planned to participate in 2018. Dry January, for the uninitiated, is the somewhat recent trend of abstaining from alcohol for the month of January to start the year off right, counteract overindulgence during the holidays, or prove that you don’t need to drink. Millennials are likely participating for a variety of reasons, and the trend is growing. Forbes reports that Dry January is genuinely impacting alcohol sales—with alcohol delivery app Drizly saying that their “data clearly pointed to Dry January being a genuine event,” with Millennials more likely to participate than older generations.

But Dry January is only one indication of Millennials’ moderation. Overall, the generation is reported to be drinking less than previous generations. In our nightlife and drinking survey, 16% of 21-36-year-olds told YPulse that they never drink alcoholic beverages, and 35% say they drink them less than weekly—that’s a full half of young consumers who are either drinking moderately or not at all. So what’s going on? Just as there are likely a variety of reasons that young consumers are participating in Dry January, there are many factors at play contributing to this Millennial moderation trend. A change in perception is one: 82% tell us that it’s not cool to drink too much, and even among those who do drink, 34% say they are trying to drink less. Drinking is just not as glamourous as it used to be—and food has become an important…


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Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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