Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors towards Wine Purchases: Demographics

By: Abby Miller

2  Demographics Vineyards_Winery

Before delving into the data collected during a 15-minute Internet survey conducted to quantify wine purchasing and consumption and wine consumers’ social media use, it will be beneficial to describe respondents who participated. As a reminder, 1,183 wine consumers, between ages 21 and 64, who had purchased and drank wine at least once within the previous year, and who resided in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania participated in the study.

Of the 1,183 participants, 62.9% were female. Survey responses from our female participants will provide great insight as women make a majority of wine purchases in the United States (Tinney, 2014). The majority of participants, 58.5%, were married or in a partnership, followed by 33% who were single.

Participants were asked to select the category that best described their 2012 annual household income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (, in 2012, 24.3% of household incomes were between $25,000 and $49.999, which is similar to our data as 26.2% of participants indicated that their household income fell within this range. While 29.2% of U.S. households reported an income between $50,000 and $74,999, slightly fewer of our participants (22.7%) reported having an income between $50,000 and $75,999.

Table 1, below, depicts the age range of participants segmented by income level. We look at demographics closely as these data help us understand if income, age range, etc. have an impact on purchases. The category with the greatest percentage of participants, based on these demographic variables, by a small margin, were those between age 21 and 24 years and with income levels of $25,000 to $49,000 (33.2%). The impact of household income level and age on wine purchasing will be discussed in future posts.

Table 1. Percentage of annual income level of participants by their age range

Table 1. Percentage of annual income level of participants by their age range. “z” Indicates percents with different letters within rows (e.g. less than $25,000) represent ANOVA tests where values are significantly different at the level of P≤0.05

Pertaining to employment, the majority of participants responded that they were “employed by someone else” (60%), followed by a much lower percentage of participants who were full-time homemakers (11%). These and other occupational data are presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Survey participants reported employment status

Figure 1. Survey participants reported employment status

Other demographic variables were investigated including the number of household members (both adults and children) who reside with survey participants, as they may have an influence on frequency and quantity of wine purchased and consumed. For example, it has been hypothesized that alcohol availability and easy access to alcohol are related to a greater consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related problems among adolescents (Friese et al., 2012). Consumers living in households with children may want to limit their children’s access to alcoholic beverages if they are concerned about this potential behavior. For our participants, 40.6% lived in a household with one other adult, age 18 years or older, and slightly more than half, 51.6%, of participants resided in a household without children age 17 and younger. Future posts will discuss differences in attitudes and behaviors based on household composition.

Understanding a few of these key demographic and socioeconomic factors will provide insight into Mid-Atlantic wine consumer’s consumption and purchasing habits. We hope you look forward to our next post as we will describe the juicy details of our survey participants’ wine purchasing habits.



Friese, Bettina, Joel W. Grube, and Roland S. Moore. “How Parents of Adolescents Store and Monitor Alcohol in the Home.” The National Institutes of Health. June 2012; 33(2-3): 79-83.

Tinney, Mary-Colleen. “Consumer Studies Show Positive Wine Trends.” Wine Business. 24 January 2014.


Abigail Miller is a Master’s student at Penn State University, specializing in wine marketing. Her interests lie mainly within understanding the marketing and social media strategies appropriate for independent wineries, but she also enjoys learning about the production and wine making side of the business. Her hope is to one day become knowledgeable in all aspects of running a winery.

Research & Thesis Advisory Team:

  • Dr. Kathleen Kelley, Professor, Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Jeffrey Hyde, Professor, Agricultural Economics, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Ms. Denise Gardner, Extension Enologist, Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Brad Rickard, Assistant Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Dr. Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Karl Storchmann, Clinical Professor, Economics Department, New York University; Managing Editor, Journal of Wine Economics
  • Dr. Rob Crassweller, Professor, Professor of Tree Fruit, The Pennsylvania State University

The project “Developing Wine Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Region” (GRANT 11091317) is being funded by a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant, whose goal is “to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.” For more information about the program, visit


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