Changing Drinking Culture in Northeast Asia: In the Eyes of Millennial Consumers

September 2020

Covid-19 is changing the landscape of alcoholic industries and accelerating mindful drinking trend. Consumers are prioritizing their wellbeing and relatively less harmful options such as low-alcohol RTDs are gaining ground. Millennial consumers, who value healthy and balanced life have been largely shifting to retail channels already. Especially cases in Asia suggest that low ABV beverages or easy-to-drink variants could become mainstream.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Understanding growing moderation in drinking to play a key role

With the healthy living trend impacting globally, more consumers in Northeast Asia are shifting towards “mindful” drinking. A notable change is a decline in mandatory social drinking. Unlike baby boomers, the younger generations see more value in personal time, and avoid drinking after work with their managers or clients.

Lower ABV as an opportunity

With consumer behaviour having seen a consistent movement towards a reduction in alcohol consumption, lower ABV products are emerging as a relatively healthy option. Lower ABV products target a much wider range of consumers who are trying to find an alternative way to enjoy a drink while reducing their consumption of alcohol. Compared to non-alcohol products, which still have only a limited consumer base, lower ABV products have attracted the general drinking population through improvements in quality and flavour.

Flavours matter

Sweet and fruit flavours are the key to capturing young Northeast Asian consumers, who are well known for having a sweet tooth. Major players have focused on developing sweet and fruity options, and increased the number of products. Earlier products of this type often contained very little juice and had an image of having rather artificial fruit flavours, but recent launches have aimed to improve the health credentials by using real fruit juice.

Finding new ways to enjoy alcoholic drinks

Millennials have been changing the definition of what alcoholic drinks should taste like and look like, and also how and where to drink. Wanting to feel special, millennials are looking for ways to drink which differ from those of their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. The growing presence of social media channels has encouraged younger consumers to share creative recipes.

Key findings
Healthy living and experiences: Megatrends impacting drinkers
Northeast Asia characterised by heavy drinking
Drinking is a key element in business
Rise of “mindful” drinking
Millennials: drinking culture is not what it used to be
Millennials: generational shift shapes the alcoholic drinks industry
Millennials: shifting towards moderation
Changes in drinking culture driven by new workplace models
Japan: drinking cultural reform for an improved work-life balance
South Korea: impact of labour law on alcoholic drinks industry
Lower ABV as health-conscious consumers’ choice
Milder whisky that retains the character of a Scotch whisky
Moderation with 1970s retro packaging
Wine joins the lower alcohol movement
A premium beer with lower ABV
Traditional liquor learning to adapt
Sweet spot for millennials
Premium RTDs with refreshing flavours
Fruitier than ever: high fruit juice content RTD
Soju expanding the market with sweeter flavours
Fruit flavoured whisky targeting millennials
Developing new ways of drinking
Traditional baijiu embraces the young vibe
Delivering a powerful message
18 days shelf life: beer as fresh as milk
Retro touch for RTDs
New ways to drink: recipes shared by influencers
Outlook 2023: easy drinking RTDs to see the fastest growth
Innovation: lower ABV, flavours, fashionable packaging

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks is the aggregation of beer, wine, spirits, cider/perry and RTDs.

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