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Britons alcohol consumption in decline



Britons alcohol consumption in decline

Amid concerns over binge drinking, the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that Britons are reducing the amount of alcohol they consume. In Great Britain the average consumption has dropped from 17 units per week in 2006 to 14 units in 2010.

Britons are consuming three units a week less than they were in 2006, showing a decline in drinking as a popular British pastime. Changes in consumer lifestyles and an ageing population are contributing towards the decline, as well as increasing unemployment and falling disposable income during the recession, particularly among 18-24 year olds.

Kevan Mulcahey, Business Unit Director from Kantar Worldpanel explains: “While the recession has accelerated the fundamental changes in drinking habits that we have seen since 2006, it is not solely responsible for the drop in consumption. There has been a shift over the last decade towards more people consuming alcohol in the home than in bars and restaurants, and this has driven the decline in alcohol consumption.”

A Poor offer from drinking establishments, the increased availability of in home entertainment and heavy drinks promotions in supermarkets have helped increase the at-home share of alcohol consumption to 70% in 2010 compared to 66% in 2006. The decline in alcohol consumption out of the home is considerable with just 5.6 billion drinks served in the UK in 2010 compared to 8.3 billion in 2001.

Kevan Mulcahey continues: “As people have made spending cutbacks they have also reduced the number of visits to bars and pubs, and when they do go out they are looking to make the occasion special. Pubs and bars therefore need to ensure that they are offering consumers something different to what they can get at home. Cocktails for example, have proven to be a differentiator with the category maintaining its share of drinkers in 2010.”

For those drinking at home pre-mixes have proved to be popular with £24m spent on drinks such as vodka and cola in the past year. This is reflective of the overall shift towards convenience and drinking at home, and also the continued preference in sweeter alcoholic drinks that has been seen since 2000.

Kevan Mulcahey concludes: “We are seeing a decline in alcohol consumption and a continuous shift towards drinking at home but drinks manufacturers and retailers can take advantage of the growth of at-home drinking with clever marketing strategies targeted at the at home occasion supported by sensible promotional activity.

“Whilst the government announced earlier this year that it has decided to take action on minimum pricing it has yet to decide when these new plans will actually be implemented. It is also fair to say that when existing levels of promotional activity are reviewed the impact will not be that significant.”

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