Wine Not: Lessons in Shifting a Luxury Product for the Millennial Market

They’re young, thirsty, and ready to pop the cork—but Millennials aren’t drinking wine like their parents did. Boomers value the snobbiness of wine, while Millennials care more about authenticity and adventure than luxury, looking to spend an average of $10-12 per bottle. But Millennials are on the brink of outspending their Boomer predecessors, and will be the dominant group in purchasing power by 2017. Suddenly, luxury products that in the past might have lured consumers and built their brands around exclusivity and lavishness need to prepare for a new generation of consumers who aren’t necessarily looking for an elite-only experience. As wine importer Melissa Saunders was quoted, “[T]his generation is blowing all [the pretense] out of the water. They don’t care about the pretentiousness of a wine, they want something that is authentic and speaks to them. This is a huge marketing opportunity.” The industry is shifting to serve this generation who represents one third of core drinkers, and in doing so, they’re forging new paths in how a previously luxury-focused market can creatively evolve to open up to a consumer with drastically different purchasing values.
New startups are seeing great potential in Millennials as the next generation of winos. Uproot Wines targets the affluent segment of Gen Y with minimalist labeling that graphically represents flavor notes and original blends in limited quantities. Club W sources lower-priced wines using big data to appeal to the “Palate Profile” of Millennials who can’t afford to buy top-tier wines but still want a regular glass of the good stuff. Meanwhile, lower-end retailers are getting into the wine game to attract Millennials who have a little bit more to spend. 7-Eleven recently added “ultra-premium” wines for an average of $19.99 a…


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Quote of the Day: “My financial priority is getting a job and getting out of my parents’ house.” –Male, 20, WA

Virtual reality is poised to become an entertainment game-changer—could it revolutionize education as well? Google is pioneering Expeditions, a new “virtual field trip” program that reaches out to schools with lessons that integrate virtual reality viewers. Expensive VR headsets are not necessary since Google Cardboard is used, allowing a very new technology to be brought into classrooms at an early stage. (NYTimes)

Millennials are bringing their financial preferences to wedding planning. A survey from The Knot and PayPal found that 44% of couples wish they could make all their vendor payments via smartphone, and 42% were surprised their vendors did not accept electronic payments. They also want the “I do” day to be money-hassle-free: 70% think automated payments for remaining balances on the wedding day would be helpful. (MarketWatch)

Smartphones present a whole new set of social problems for Millennials—especially when they’re using them while drinking. New app Drunk Mode, targeting college kids, is designed to make phones safe to use while under the influence: select contacts are hidden for 12 hours to prevent dangerous drunk dialing, the “Find My Drunk” feature uses GPS to help users find drunk friends, and there are also tools for hailing safe rides and retracing intoxicated footsteps. (Springwise)

After years of magical, mystical creatures and dystopian horror stories ruling YA shelves, a new wave of novels are making more relatable narratives popular again. According to Scholastic, “realism is on the rise,” and books that feature the problems of real-world teens are the next big thing. Recent examples include 21 PromsHomeroom Diaries, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was also turned into a feature film. (Scholastic)

In 2014, designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her stores of the future, featuring digital fitting rooms with large, mirrored touch screen walls that allow visitors to browse the latest collections, runway shows, photos, and other brand content . Almost a year later, those tech dressing rooms are being credited with tripling expected clothing sales. Minkoff says, “Trying something on signifies intent, and the customer may not have been thinking about buying a dress, but they see it suggested on the screen and know to ask for it.” (Digiday)

Quote of the Day: “My biggest financial goal is Financial independence from my parents.” –Female, 22, MA

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