If you were contemplating taking a walk in the countryside and deciding what to wear, would you listen to the person who assures you that it’s not going to rain? Or the evidence of your own eyes as you watch the water pouring out of the clouds?
As a wine professional, do you believe that Gen Z cares more deeply about authenticity than its elders? Or do you pay attention to the success on TikTok – the favourite social media playground for this age cohort - of influencers and traders focusing on luxury knock-offs?
As Annachiara Biondi revealed in a recent Financial Times article, the #dupes (duplicates) and #reps (replicas) hashtags have had 2.1bn and 1.9bn views respectively. When the EU Intellectual Property Office surveyed 15-24 year-olds last year, 37% of the 22,021 respondents said they had purchased at least one fake product. In 2019, the figure was just 14%.
The answer to this is, of course, not binary. What people say and what they do is often inconsistent. Many of the 37% may well care more about authenticity when it comes to what they eat and drink than handbags and trainers. Or they may care more about food than drink. Or vice versa.
The only thing I’d say for certain is that anyone who makes any kind of statement about ‘what people want’ with any kind of certainty, is not worth listening to.