New data from Roy Morgan’s Alcohol Consumption Report shows the proportion of Australians who drink alcohol continues to decline, despite recent media coverage of panic buying during the coronavirus lockdown.
A deeper dive into Roy Morgan Single Source data shows drinking at home is tightly correlated to age and the older you are the more likely you are to mostly drink alcohol at home.
A total of 66.3 per cent (13,073,000) of Australians aged 18-plus in the year to March 2020 consumed alcohol in an average four-week period, down from 67.5 per cent (13,102,000) twelve months ago.
Proportion of Australians who consume alcohol in an average four-week period
Spirits was the only alcohol category whose consumption increased year-on-year rising from 26.3 per cent (5,099,000) to 28.7 per cent (5,671,000).
Wine drinking decreased from 42.8 per cent (8,303,000) to 41 per cent (8,096,000). Beer fell from 38.2 per cent (7,409,000) to 37.6 per cent (7,413,000). Cider dropped from 11.4 per cent (2,210,000) to 10.7 per cent (2,114,000). Ready-to-drinks (RTDs) remained unchanged on 10.8 per cent (2,138,000). Liqueurs fell from 6.5 per cent (1,265,000) to 5.8 per cent (1,148,000) and fortified wine dropped from 4.9 per cent (960,000) to 4.2 per cent (827,000).
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that despite some concern about the effect the COVID-19 lockdown might have on alcohol consumption, particularly after a run on bottle shops in March, overall consumption is decreasing.
“Our data shows a consistent decline in Australians’ alcohol consumption. Looking back to 2006, 73.5 per cent of the adult population were regular drinkers. That has dropped to 66.3 per cent in the 12 months to March 2020, which represents a large number of people who no longer choose to consume alcohol regularly,” Levine said.
Proportion of Australian drinkers who agree they ‘drink alcohol mostly at home’
People surveyed were also asked about their attitudes towards alcohol and nearly two-thirds of Australian drinkers (65.4 per cent) agree they “drink alcohol mostly at home” with a greater proportion of men (67.3 per cent) than women (63.5 per cent) agreeing.
Across age groups, it is drinkers aged 65-plus who are most likely to agree they “drink alcohol mostly at home” (71.8 per cent). They are followed by those aged 50-64 (70 per cent), then 35-49 (67.2 per cent), 25-34 (59.3 per cent) and 18-24 (49.2 per cent).
Levine added: “During the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown, the panic buying of large quantities of alcohol prompted understandable concern from health authorities and saw the introduction of buying limits. However, it’s likely the alcohol bought was simply a substitute for alcohol which people would otherwise have been consumed at venues, or simply stocking up ‘just in case’, rather than an overall increase.”