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Joe-Jo, Jessica & Jake: New Study Finds Three Segments of High-Frequency Wine Consumers

A few years ago the Wine Market Council (WMC) introduced the concept of high frequency wine drinkers and occasional wine drinkers as a segmentation for US wine drinkers. This replaced their earlier core and marginal wine drinker segmentation. According to WMC, as of 2014, 33 percent of U.S. wine drinkers are considered to fall in the high frequency category, those who consume wine several times a week or daily.

Obviously these high frequency (HF) wine consumers are a sought after market for wine firms. They buy the majority of wine sold and often serve as opinion leaders in the product category. However, HF wine drinkers are not a homogenous segment of the wine market. One important characteristic that can be used to distinguish them is how much they typically spend on a bottle of wine. With this in mind, researchers at Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute decided to launch a new study to investigate differences in HF wine consumer attributes and behaviors based on the amount of money they typically spend on a bottle of wine.

About the Study

An online questionnaire was launched in 2014. Data collection came from panel data provided by Survey Sampling International. A representative sample of wine drinkers was obtained from all regions of the United States. All participants in the study were screened to insure they were 21 years old and consumed wine. A total of 1,021 responses were obtained. From these responses, 681 people indicated they consumed wine either daily or at least several times per week and their responses were selected for further use in the study.

Development of Three Market Segments of HF Wine Consumers

One of the most popular price segments for wine in the US is currently $10-$15 per bottle (Brager, 2015). In the sample, there were 242 respondents that indicated this was the price they typically paid for a bottle of wine to be consumed at home. Another 261 respondents indicated they typically spend less than $10, and 190 respondents indicated they typically spend more than $15. The respondents were then categorized into three groups based on the amount of money they typically spend on wine and were labeled Low Spenders, Moderate Spenders and High Spenders. One-way ANOVA was used to identify significant differences between the three expenditure groups in terms of demographics, attributes and behavior. When significant differences were uncovered, Duncan’s Ranges was used to discover which group(s) differed from the others.

Introducing Jo-Joe, Jessica and Jake

Based on the significant variables identified in the study, three consumer profiles were developed and named Joe & Jo (Low Spenders), Jessica (Moderate Spender) and Jake (High Spender).

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Joe & Jo – The Low Spenders: Joe and Jo are high frequency wine drinkers who enjoy drinking wine that costs less than $10 per bottle. They are lower income with an average age of 50, are equally both male and female, and are more apt to have children. They rate themselves as low on wine knowledge and are not as involved with wine as other high frequency wine consumers. They primarily buy their wine at the grocery store, and even though they are older they still use wine apps to check wine prices and shop for wine discounts and coupons. Their motto is: “Wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. Wine is to enjoy and relax.”

Jessica- The Moderate Spender: Jessica is a high frequency wine consumer who prefers to purchase wine that costs between $10 and $15 per bottle. Like other moderate wine spenders, she has a mid to high level income, an average age of 43, and is more like to be female. She is more involved with wine and rates herself as having more wine knowledge than others. When purchasing wine she often goes to warehouse stores such as Costco or at discount stores such as Target. At times she enjoys talking about wine on social media channels with her friends, as well as reading wine reviews. Her motto is: “I like to treat myself and my friends to a nice glass of wine.”

Jake – The High Spender: Jake is a high frequency wine consumer who always spends more than $15 per bottle. Like other high wine spenders, he has a mid to high level income, an average age of 38, and is more likely to be male. He is very involved with wine and rates himself as an expert in terms of wine knowledge. He purchases wine in many different channels, including wine shops, grocery stores and warehouse locations, but is also apt to buy wine online and in winery tasting rooms. He is very technology savvy, and uses wine social media sites and wine apps frequently to discuss and gather information about wine. His motto is: “I want to taste and buy some of the top rated wines of the world.”

Wine Marketing Implications

There are several important wine marketing implications based on this study. The first is that it is important for marketers to pay attention to all three segments, because all include high frequency consumers. However, it is important to understand the differences in attributes and behaviors in order to create customized promotions to match consumer needs.

For example, Jake - the High Spender is much more interested in a wider selection of varietals, so this should be provided and emphasized. Marketers should increase offerings of varietals at higher prices points. Whereas Jessica - the Moderate Spender is looking for a moderate priced wine that is consistent in style and taste. This is an important distinction, because this type of consumer isn’t looking for vintage variation, but prefers reliable quality, and it is important for marketers to emphasize this fact in advertising. Joe & Jo - the Low Spenders, on the other hand, are interested in discounts and wine that is a good value. Paying attention to this need and creating impactful promotions to attract the Low Spender is important. Marketers need to adjust to these differences and create unique messaging to reach each segment.

Finally, all three HF segments allocate wine purchases to different channels, but interestingly all three use wine apps and social media. However the Low Spender uses wine apps to find coupons for grocery stores, whereas the Moderate and High Spender use social media and wine apps for information and perhaps to communicate with friends in their social media networks. Marketers can create promotions, coupons, and advertisements for online, apps, and social media sites to match these needs.

About the Authors: Dr. Liz Thach, MW (Liz@lizthach.com) and Dr. Janeen Olsen, Certified Sommelier (janeenolsen@gmail.com), are both wine business professors at Sonoma State University in the Wine Business Institute. Portions of this article are excerpts from a longer, academic article published in the most recent issue of the Wine Economics & Policy Journal available at: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212977415000137

Selected References
• Brager, D. (2015. Wine Trends or Fads? Presentation at Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Sacramento, CA, Jan. 28, 2015.
• Wine Market Council (2015). 10th Annual Presentation of US Wine Consumer Trends. Napa, CA February 6, 2015.
 


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