Drizly’s 2022 Consumer Trend Report Brings Gen Z’s Alcohol Preferences and Industry-Shaping Potential Into Focus

When we started planning for Drizly’s fourth annual consumer trend report, a few likely storylines came to mind: tequila’s continued ascent, the interplay between RTDs and hard seltzers, and non-alcoholic drinks’ longer-term prospects, to name a few. Our qualitative survey, fielded among 1,000 adults of LDA nationwide in April, was geared to paint a picture of the American adult beverage consumer this summer through year-end, fleshed out with insights from Drizly’s own sales data.

What we didn’t see coming was a complex and nuanced portrait of Gen Z as alcohol consumers, whose self-reported tastes, and motivations for purchasing and enjoying alcoholic beverages, were at times miles apart from what you’d expect. In some instances, many, many miles.

For one, Gen Z is more inclined than any other generation to purchase more red wine this year. Their thirst for it surpassed that of Gen Z, Gen X and Boomers, by margins of 15, 19 and 21 points, respectively. It could partially be explained by Gen Z’s already over indexing for hard seltzer, FMBs and the like, and wanting to branch out. But with talk of wine’s decline (to wit, spirits overtook wine on a share of sales basis on Drizly last year), this finding raises questions about who wine brands – especially ones above the value tier — are now targeting and how they are reaching them, especially considering the sometimes-vast differences in even Millennials’ and Gen Z’s attitudes, interests, purchase motivations and media consumption habits.

There was a thread between that and another surprising finding: that under certain circumstances, Gen Z is willing to open their wallets wider for more expensive wine, spirits and beer than other generations. Specifically, Gen Z views informal, more frequent kinds of get-togethers as reasons to premium-ize more often than do Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. These occasions include date nights and other casual nights at home. The relatively lower cost of treating yourself and others at home compared to on-premise, and Gen Z’s near-native inclination to spend online for home delivery, may at least partially explain this finding.

Our survey also found America’s youngest legal alcohol purchasers to be the most inclined to purchase…non-alcoholic substitutes. A more wellness-framed approach to lifestyle and younger consumers’ tendencies to more readily embrace newer categories and products could be at play. Thirty-eight percent of Gen Z respondents said they had chosen to drink more non-alcoholic beverages in place of alcoholic beverages over the prior year, besting Millennials (25%), Gen X (15%) and Boomers (8%). A previous wave of non-alc products that didn’t deliver on taste expectations may be keeping the older cohorts from trying this time around.

And yes, tequila shows no signs of slowing down. RTD cocktails are poised to rapidly accelerate (tequila-based ones, especially) and may also be softening the pandemic-catalyzed home mixology boom.

Read all about it…and more…here.