Recent research into the alcohol industry has revealed that consumers are more like to stick with what they know than venture into something new.
Innovation vs. tradition
Many drinks brands, especially in the whisky market, are trying to innovate with their products. For whisky, this often means using new and experimental maturation techniques.
Recent research by Global Data found that while there was room for more innovation within the drinks market, many consumers opted for what they liked over new products. It also appeared tat consumers were more likely to try something new if it still had features of similarity.
Only a third of Gen Z drinkers were likely to opt for something new or for flavours that were considered “unusual”. While that might not seem very high, this was higher than any other age category.
Principal Consumer Insight Analyst at Global Data, Richard Parker, says, “Gen Z consumers are influenced by the newness and trendiness of flavors, as promoted through social media, and by visual as well as flavor aspects”
As well as the challenge of bringing in new audiences and innovating within the market, there is also a challenge around sustainability.
Parker expands on this, “Despite the opportunities for innovation and demographic targeting still to be had in such a mature market, alcohol brands face some growing macro-level issues. Climate change, and the unpredictable effects this is having on the supply chain, is undermining regular and sustainable approaches to production and consumption. This will force change in available products.
“Climate change affecting barley yields could lead to beer shortages and rising prices of barley (and beer) – subsequently resulting in a fall in global consumption. The risk of falling supply and significantly boosted prices means that brands will need to give consumers strong reasons to continue to purchase their products as premium becomes luxury and standard products effectively premium in price.”
This is a not a new issue, as many drinks producers have been aware of this issue for a while. Many distilleries are turning to becoming greener and are in some ways leading the charge on this.
It is a worrying trend, as we do not know the full impact that climate change will have on the drinks industry and it is somewhat hard to predict. But with a push for distilleries to continue towards greener and more eco-friendly production methods, there might be light at the end of the tunnel yet.
What do you think of global whisky market trends and what should brands be keeping an eye on? Start the conversation in the comments!