Engaged Newbies find US wine category 'intimidating': Constellation Brands

The wine aisle. An object of attraction for young US wine enthusiasts, but also a trifle intimidating... (Tony Alter/Flickr)

Constellation Brands research shows that 'engaged newcomers' to wine in the US and Canada include a high proportion of young people who socialize with the drink, but warns they see the category as 'intimidating'. 

Identifying three new, important segments in North America, Engaged Newcomers, Everyday Loyalists and Price Driven consumers, Constellation says that taken together they comprise over half the wine drinking public.

Using its Project Genome methodology, Constellation claims to have created a system for understanding the motivations, attitudes and behaviors that drive consumers' buying decisions.

The three new categories sit alongside Constellation’s previous designations: Overwhelmed, Image Seekers and Enthusiasts.

“While the original study helped change the way the industry understands and talks about wine consumers in the premium segment, this broader update also provides in-depth knowledge of the value and luxury consumer,” Constellation said.

The company claims to have mapped all consumer price points and says its system will help industry meet consumer expectations more effectively.

Meeting preferences, palates and price points

Dale Stratton, VP of strategic insights for Constellation Brands, said: “By understanding the six distinct types of wine drinkers we identified in this study, we help our distributors and retailers more effectively reach consumers, build education programs and help wine drinkers by providing recommendations and developing products that meet their preferences, palates and price points.”

Constellation says the three new groups of wine drinkers are important because of (A) their buying power and (B) because they are increasingly engaged with brands.

Some select wine on price, others are loyal to specific labels, others are new to the category but wish to learn more – but all seek a better knowledge of wines and their differences.

Constellation says Project Genome reflects the entrance of millennials into the North American wine market over the past decade and the “proliferation of mobile apps and social media, and overall economic trends that impact the way consumers shop for and enjoy wine”.

“We’ve worked with retailers, expanded our digital channels and introduced new labels to remain the number one premium wine company in the US,” Stratton said.

‘Overwhelmed’ don’t know when to start in wine aisle

Project Genome saw Constellation ask 100 questions to 4,000 US and Canadian consumers who buy and drink wine at least once every three months.

The US research shows that Price Driven consumers constitute 21% of the market (as per Constellation’s carve up), Everyday Loyals 20%, Overwhelmed 19%, Image Seekers 18%, Engaged Newcomers 12% and Enthusiasts 10%. 

Constellation's research insights show that Engaged Newcomers, for instance, are young and see wine as an intimidating category, socialize using wine and are interested in learning more.

Overwhelmed consumers drink wine but it does not play an important role in their lives – they find shopping for wine complex and overwhelming.

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