A Drink of Their Own: Women Are Driving New Trends in BevAl

Posted by
Jordan Breslauer on 11/9/18 9:12 AM

We know women set trends in fashion, cosmetics, and a whole host of other consumer arenas.

But alcohol?

It’s true. Women are the biggest force behind two new developments in the realm of alcoholic beverages: health- and environmentally-conscious choices.

Building on research that saw a rise in qualities like ‘nutrition’ and ‘organic’ in conversations about alcohol, we dug into the data to figure out who and what was driving those trends. Here’s what we found:

 

Salud! Consumers are Increasingly Health-Conscious

Growth in health-related topics in beverage alcohol conversations, Q3 2017 to Q3 2018.

Year-over-year (Jul-Sept 2017 to Jul-Sept 2018) growth in conversations about health-related topics in relation to beverage alcohol.
 

References to health are on the rise in the beverage alcohol market. A more than 200% increase in mentions of ‘keto’ and a 69% increase in mentions of ‘calories’ suggest that consumers are clearly interested in drink options that fit their diet.

Digging into the details is where this data gets really interesting. When broken out by gender, it’s clear that every one of these increases was driven by women:

YOY growth, health-related topics in beverage alcohol, split by gender.

Women are driving conversations about health-related topics in beverage alcohol.

Not only are women creating a higher volume of posts about health-related topics (percent contribution), the percentile indicates that those topics are more uniquely associated with women than with men. For example, ‘inflammation’ is in the 88th percentile for women, which means only 12% of all other topics in alcohol skew more toward women.

Let’s take it one step further and bundle these terms so we can treat them as an aggregate. That gives us even more detailed insight:

Demographic breakout: health-related conversations in beverage alcohol.

Looking at a set of terms in aggregate lets us get a more granular view of who’s really driving the trend toward health in beverage alcohol.

Here we can see that health-related concerns skew toward white women, particularly those from 45 to 54 years old. Beverage alcohol brands looking to expand their foothold with this demographic could take advantage of this trend with messaging that emphasizes how their products fit into a health-conscious lifestyle.
 

Alternatively, brands could also use this information to distribute products that women are likely to find more attractive. Along with hard seltzer and hard kombucha, our data points to:

  • Malt beverages and wine coolers
  • Bock and kolsch beers
  • Schnapps
  • Low alcohol beer

as products that are already associated health-focused topics and that might warrant further investment by brands looking to capitalize on the trend.

 

A Toast to Mother Earth

While health is a macrotrend in beverage alcohol, in the course of this analysis we also discovered a microtrend: an increase in environmentally-conscious terms in beverage alcohol conversations. We’re calling it a microtrend because the overall conversational volume (total posts per day) is growing but isn’t as large as the conversation around health and alcohol.

YOY growth in environmentally-related conversations about beverage alcohol.

As with health, women lead the charge in environmentally-focused beverage alcohol conversations.

When it comes to environmental topics, women are leading the charge across the board both in raw conversational volume and percentile share, except in mentions of the term ‘environment’ (highlighted in yellow above) specifically. In that instance, more conversational volume is coming from women, but when we control for number of posts, we find that men are in the 51st percentile, meaning that 'environment' skews slightly more toward men than women.

Moreover, most of this year-over-year growth is focused on packaging, with a focus on terms including ‘plastic-free,’ ‘zero waste,’ and ‘waste,’ suggesting that environmentally-friendly moves such as Carlsberg’s snap pack are well-timed.

The demographic breakdown of women driving this microtrend is similar to, but isn't an exact match for, the women talking about health-related concerns:

Environmentally-related conversations in beverage alcohol, broken out by gender.

Environmental issues in beverage alcohol skew younger than health-related concerns.

Compared to health-oriented audiences, the women talking about environmental concerns tend to be younger (predominantly 30-34, though there’s above-average interest throughout ages 25 to 44).

These findings suggest that alcohol brands looking to woo young women might do well to embrace eco-chic, whether in their marketing or in their product offerings.

 

How we got the numbers

We compared Instagram conversations about alcohol from Q3 (July-September) 2017 to the same timeframe in 2018. We then narrowed our focus to terms with a high-to-mid volume of posts and looked for clustering in the data. From there, we analyzed both individual terms and clusters (health and environment) as aggregates to confirm women’s role in driving the trend.

It may be tough to wrap your head around a world where alcohol is treated as a health tonic or where wine is selected based on eco-friendly packaging. But if that ever comes to pass, raise a glass to women for pushing alcohol to a healthier and more sustainable place.

 

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Topics: social analytics, consumer analytics, trends, beverages, healthy living, alcohol

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