In 2012 it was shown that more than 60 percent of those between 21 and 24 favor sweet and flavored vodkas. This finding represents a sharp increase from market research done for the same age range in 2004 and 2005, when only 42 percent liked flavoring.
Most interesting for marketers and product developers alike, is that the older the demographic, the less likely the desire for flavored vodka products. Again, based on 2012 numbers, among consumers in their mid-30s to mid-40s, the percentages of those who like flavored vodka dropped to 52 percent; with a steady decline until only 18 percent of vodka drinkers currently over the age of 65 enjoy flavored vodka.
As the Millennial demographic ages, chances are that their desire for flavored vodka will be maintained. Flavor preferences may change, however this group will still purchase flavored vodkas. The reason for this assumption is that there are strong points of differentiation between younger and older vodka consumers.
There has been an explosion of flavors in the vodka category; everything from conservative flavor profiles such as lemon and caramel to the more edgy such as wasabi and bacon. However, as developers have learned, it is incorrect to assume that for this category, all that is necessary to do is to flavor bottom-shelf vodka, slap on a wild label and see if it creates interest.
There are at least three things to remember when marketing flavored vodka to Millennials:
- Your product must be properly positioned; it must carry a unique story and make sense in terms of market trends.
- Market research shows that Millennials want lighter vodka with less alcohol and lower calories because they are concerned about their health. There are additional considerations in flavoring light alcoholic beverages versus higher proof spirits.
- Millennials are experimental; new vodkas are being created not just new vodka flavors. It is no longer about distilling fermented potatoes! There are now vodkas made from milk, hemp seed or vodkas combined with other beverage flavors such as champagne. This will create an entirely new challenge in developing flavor systems.
While there are many considerations in launching new flavored vodka products to the Millennial category if properly positioned, consumer loyalty could be carried forward as the segment ages.