Boomers are not the biggest boozers

The ‘Boomer’ generation are often claimed to be the nation’s heaviest wine drinkers. Analysis of TGI trend data shows this is only partially true.

Behaviour in the wine category illustrates the cohort effect. Let’s divide the population aged 20+ into 15-year bands, and categorise Boomers as those aged 50-64 today, therefore, the 20-34 year-olds of 1989. Back then, 3% of adults reported drinking five or more bottles of wine per month. Boomers (highlighted) were above-average at 4%, but 5% of 35-49 year-olds were consuming five bottles per month, making them the heaviest wine drinkers.

Source: Kantar Media TGI

Winding forward 30 years to 2019, we see three times as many adults (9% compared to 3%) reporting consumption of five or more bottles of wine per month. The cohort effect is clearly visible: Boomers’ consumption at this level has also roughly trebled, from 4% to 11%, but the heaviest drinkers are still the prior generation, now the 65+ group, at 12%.

Source: Kantar Media TGI

We can also see that – unlike Boomers in 1989 – the 20-34 year-olds of today are much lighter consumers of wine than average. The market for wine has developed considerably over the last 30 years, driven by the Boomer generation and their elders, but younger adults may be more alert to messages about consuming in moderation.

Research is vital for businesses taking decisions that have long-term implications.  Longitudinal analysis of data such as TGI, including the historical data held within the Archive for Social and Market Research (AMSR), can allow decision-makers to track and assess the impact of their actions.