ProWein 2016 Reveals Insightful Consumer Trends and Racks Record-Breaking Visitors

At the world's largest wine trade expo, industry insiders look towards the future.
Photo by Messe Duesseldorf

ProWein, one of the world’s biggest annual wine trade events held in Düsseldorf, Germany, attracted more than 55,000 visitors from 126 countries, and featured 6,200 exhibitors from 59 countries—record-breaking figures for the fair.

As a conclusion to the three-day event, UK-based market researcher Wine Intelligence held a news conference highlighting global consumer trends. Chief Executive Lulie Halstead presented six key consumer motivations driving these trends, and whether you’re a wine-industry professional or an avid wino, you’ll want to know what to look for:

Customization is Key

Consumers are increasingly demanding that product and events are tailored specifically to their unique needs and likes. This is evident in restaurants that allow diners to pick seats when booking online. “Not every one consumer wants something unique, but they do want choice,” Halstead said.

Be Transparent

Providing information and consumers and being completely transparent about products is hugely important these days. Buyers want to know where a brand or product stands ethically, socially and environmentally. They ask questions like, “How do you guarantee your product is authentic and what do you stand for?”

It’s all about Well-Being, Inside and Out

Consumers are growing increasingly interested in the idea of “well being”—and that is beyond merely the physical to include social, emotional and mental, according to findings. “This is no longer just about running marathons but also about having fun, about attaining calmness,” Halstead said, citing the explosive growth of adult coloring books, for instance. With regards to alcoholic beverages she noted the launch a Guinness beer featuring0% abv. available in Indonesia, while other craft beers now include ingredients like green tea as well kombucha. Lower-alcohol wines are another indication of this push towards the concept of comprehensive well-being.

Mini Bottles are Big Draws

As single-person households increase, interest in smaller bottles does. Coupled with changing shopping patterns means that traditional formats and bottle sizes are no longer always the most ideal purchases. For wine, this makes half-bottles much more economically viable, and wine vials are also growing more common.

Fast Delivery is a Must

Driven by technology and urban lifestyle changes in metropolitan hubs, fast delivery is seen as a key decision driver for consumers.

Laser-Focused Finds

Faced with overwhelming choice, today’s consumers want brands that focus on one product. According to them, specialization builds trust, and a deliberate obsession with a singular product has become a successful business model. Halstead cited restaurants specializing in a particular ingredient, for example, eggs. Or Spain’s Vina Maris winery, which specializes in a small number of single varietal wines aged underwater in the Mediterranean Sea.

On The Future of the U.S. Wine Market

Wine Intelligence also revealed new research on the future wine consumers of the United States, based on the views of more than 80,000 respondents. COO of the organization, Richard Halstead, noted that the U.S. wine-drinking population was changing profoundly. “We are in the middle of a transformation,” he said. Here are some of the key findings:

It’s Getting Bigger and Bigger

With 93 million regular wine drinkers, the U.S. is the world’s largest wine market by volume and value. Halstead expects this figure to grow to 110 million regular wine drinkers by 2025—a number driven by population growth and wine penetration, regardless of the prevailing predominance of beer and spirits.


Research identified three particularly relevant future segments for the 10-year forecast, each following the Gen Xers born between 1965–1980: Old Millennials born between 1980–1985; Young Millennials born 1985–1995, and the so-called “Next-Gens” born in or after 1995 and now reaching legal drinking age.

Today, these three segments represent 30% of regular U.S. wine drinkers, and by 2025 they are likely to represent 50%. These cohorts differ significantly. While Young Millennials “would prefer a cool experience over a cool product,” Next Gens “would prefer a cool product over a cool experience.” Fifty-seven percent of Next Gens identified with the statement, “I think wine is interesting and I would like to learn more about it.” Next Gens are also likely to spend significantly more per bottle by 2025 than Young Millennials.

Hispanics are Important Wine Consumers

Halstead also identified the increasing importance of Hispanic-Americans wine consumers in the market. Right now, Hispanics represent 10 million or 11% of regular wine drinkers in the U.S., and by 2025 that’s likely to rise to 16% (or 17 million), 22% by 2030, 29% by 2050, and according to Halstead, they are a “very important category.”

Published on March 17, 2016
Topics: Wine News + Trends
About the Author
Anne Krebiehl MW
Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Austria, Alsace and England

German-born but London-based, Anne Krebiehl MW is a freelance wine writer contributing to international wine publications. She also lectures, consults and translates and has helped to make wine in New Zealand, Germany and Italy. She adores acidity in wine and is thus perfectly suited to her Austria/Alsace/England beat. Her particular weaknesses are Pinot Noir, Riesling and traditional-method sparkling wines.


Want breaking news in the wine world?

Sign up for the Beverage Industry Enthusiast newsletter for a weekly rundown on the latest
Sign up for the
Beverage Industry Enthusiast
newsletter for a weekly
rundawn on the latest
Please enter a valid email address

We will never share your email address privacy policy