View all Blog

The future of Gen X drinking

Group of people doing a toast holding cocktails and mocktails
Helena Yankovska/Unsplash
Mar 13, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Food & Drink

Frequently deemed the ‘forgotten generation’, Gen X (born 1965-1980) represents a largely untapped market for the drinks industry, but how can brands draw on this whitespace market?

WGSN is the global authority on change, using expert trend forecasting combined with data science to help you get ahead of the right trends. Here at WGSN Food & Drink, our global experts showcase the foresight and direction that will inspire new products that cater to this generation in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink categories.

New drink trends often target younger Gen Z and Millennial tastes; however, Gen X are ready to indulge in flavours that meet their evolving priorities around health, luxury and experience. 

Overhead shot of women doing a toast
Elina Fairytale/Pexels

When it comes to drinking habits, Gen X is ready for beverage brands to better cater to their tastes. Trends such as the low-and-no alcohol movement or the functional beverage market are prime to engineer new options devoted to this generation.

  • As professionals at the end of hard-earned careers, they’ll look to indulge in beverages that satisfy their need for luxury and indulgence
  • As parents, they’ll expect streamlined solutions that prioritise the wellbeing of their families as well as their specific health needs
  • Most importantly, they’ll look to drink brands that build a space for them in an industry that overwhelmingly serves younger groups

Today we’ll give you a sneak peek of one of the five trends – Signalling Status. To explore the other four key trends and learn how to action them for your business strategy, request a free personalised tour and our experts will be in touch to find a day and time that best works for you and your team.

Man and woman toasting with wine glass

Signalling status

Simple signals of luxury mean the most to Gen X, who are happy to leverage their status, attention and money so they can appreciate the finer things.

Gen X is known for being a prime luxury consumer thanks to their high spending power and brand loyalty. When it comes to drinking habits, this makes them the leading demographic in wine and fine wine consumption.

Woman in bathtub holding wine glass
cottonbro studio/Pexels

Gen X purchases more wine than any other generation, a shift from Baby Boomers who traditionally have been the top wine drinkers. Younger generations may see luxury goods as a way to signal status to peers, but research shows Gen X is likely to value inconspicuous consumption. They prefer the exclusivity of a product versus putting it on display, meaning branded private experiences, storytelling and product education are key strategies to court their interest.

Drink brands must consider how a feeling of exclusivity impacts Gen X’s consumer experience, from point of sale to the first sip. Packaging design remains a strong way to communicate luxury across drink categories.

WGSN subscribers can read the Gen X Drinking Habits: Brand Strategies now. If you’re not a WGSN member and have been left hungry for more, you can preview a WGSN Food & Drink sample report.

Share article: