Low & No-Alcohol Gen Z
Historically the youth market has been big brand fans of alcohol but this appears to be on the wane. At the recent Youth Marketing Strategy conference in London one of the stand-out stats was around Gen Z (those born after 1996) and their low alcohol consumption compared to previous generations, with only 30% saying they drink every week and 25% claiming not to drink at all.
This highlights a marked shift in the relationship between young people and alcohol, towards more mindful and responsible consumption and a preference for low or no-alcohol brands.
So what does this mean for the drinks industry and drinking trends in general?
Low and no-alcohol as a drinks category is here to stay. According to the IWSR, the low-and no-alcohol ‘spirits’ category is expected to grow by 81% by 2022 in the UK. Thanks to the likes of Seedlip and other brands, the days of only having soft drinks as a non-alcohol alternative are long behind us. Brands are actively marketing to younger generations who are either looking to cut down their alcohol consumption or who already adopt a low-alcohol lifestyle. According to the Youth Marketing Strategy, Gen Z is more health conscious – citing mindfulness, healthy eating and going to the gym as interests. And crucially, this new wave of non-alcoholic brands offers a way for people to still enjoy the experience of drinking without the effects of the alcohol.
The key to the new no-alcohol brands is that they still have a depth of flavour and complex taste profile just without using the alcohol, so they feel authentic rather than contrived. As we know from Gen Z, they are keen on authenticity and transparency, which is another reason why this category appeals to the 18-24 age group.
This generation is also keen to socialise but perhaps not in the same way as previous generations. They are just as happy gathering a group of friends at home as they are going out to pubs, clubs and bars. But crucially wherever they are they want an experience and a talking point. Hence the need for no-alcohol brands to be part of this conversation by providing something sophisticated enough to be included in social occasions.
This is the generation who have grown up with social media and are acutely aware of the impact of their online presence. So perhaps it is no surprise that they are choosing low and no-alcohol brands as their drinks of choice as they curate themselves in a more conservative way.
There is also a reported trend of switching between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on a night out. This ‘alter-nighting’ means there is even more of a need to retain quality and taste as they switch between the two.
In the past, many alcoholic brands have had the luxury of being the fuel for a night out. But they are now having to work harder and smarter to appeal to this über conscious generation. For Gen Z and more mindful drinkers, the low and no category is definitely one to watch.
Photo courtesy of hansonimages