Picnic wine - Rosé flowers in the US market

The market for rosé wines in the US is becoming more premium – and once again Millennials appear to be the agents of change

The United States is the second largest market for rosé wine. Given the size of the wine drinking population (93 million and rising) and the fact that this is the world’s top market for still wine, this may not come as much of a surprise. Perhaps more interesting is America’s diversifying demand for rosé wine, as wine consumers are shedding the common misconception that dry rosés are the same as sweet blush wines. Many industry analysts and retailers have observed the growth of premium imported dry rosé (led by Provence, typically priced at or above $12 per bottle) and falling sales of cheap, sweet pink wines.

With consumers’ diversifying demand for rosé wine, engaging with America’s 66 million rosé drinkers (both dry and sweet) needs to move beyond a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In the Rosé Drinkers in the US Market 2016 report to be published this Thursday, we identify three types of rosé wine consumers based on the share of their total still wine consumption accounted for by rosé: “light” rosé drinkers (1-10%), “heavy” rosé drinkers (11-50%) and “super-heavy” rosé drinkers (51% or more). These groups vary considerably in all kinds of ways, and have very different relationships with the wine category in general.

For “light” drinkers, rosé wine is not an important part of their alcohol consumption. More likely to belong to the Boomers generation (aged 50-64), they have a medium level of wine involvement, and drink mainly red and white wine, plus beer and spirits. Wines from the US and mainstream imported countries of origin, as well as common varietals, are what appeal to them most.

By contrast, rosé wine is central to the drinking portfolios of the female-dominated “super-heavy” drinkers group, who drink far less red and white wine than average consumers. Of the three groups, they are the least engaged with wine generally (as reflected in their spending), yet the most habitual and dedicated when it comes to rosé.

It’s a very different story when it comes to the middle group – “heavy” rosé drinkers. This is the category over-represented among the younger, Millennial drinkers. They are the most adventurous group who are open-minded about trying wines from lesser-known regions or varietals, or even with new types of closure. Not only do they drink wine more frequently in the on-premise or at parties at home, but heavy drinkers are also more likely to qualify as premium consumers (on average spending $13.31 in retail and $20.72 in the on-premise on a bottle of wine).

It is this group which appears to be driving change in the market, and it’s hard to deny that they are a premium dry rosé exporter’s dream. Even more encouraging, their population in the US market has been on the rise over the past few years, and this growth is very likely to continue. Indeed, this group of consumers seems set to become the principal trendsetters in the category.

Find out more in the Wine Intelligence Rosé Drinkers in the US Market 2016 report, available this Thursday in the Reports Shop.

Author: Chuan Zhou

Email: chuan@wineintelligence.com