Study: More Aussies Drinking Alcohol, With Wine & RTDs Increasingly The Poison Of Choice

Study: More Aussies Drinking Alcohol, With Wine & RTDs Increasingly The Poison Of Choice

The number of Aussies drinking wine, beer and spirits reached pandemic highs during 2021 as Australians were stuck at home for extended periods during the many lockdowns that different parts of the country experienced. Consumption of all of the ‘big three’ alcoholic beverages has since declined as a share of population over the last two years as we emerged from pandemic restrictions.

However, consumption of RTDs (ready-to-drink) has continued to increase and in late 2023 is now at a record high of well over one-in-five Australians.

In the year to September 2023 over 14 million Australians (14,013,000, 68.1 per cent) aged 18+ consumed alcohol in an average four-week period for the first time compared to 13,073,000 (66.3 per cent) in the year to March 2020 – an increase of nearly 1 million Australians and higher than at any point during the pandemic.

The standout alcoholic beverages over the course of the pandemic have been ‘Ready-to-drink’ (RTDs) for which consumption increased from 2,138,000 Australians (10.8 per cent) pre-pandemic and that number has more than doubled to 4,319,000 (21 per cent) in late 2023 – a massive increase of over 2.1 million people.

The most popular alcohol is wine which has stretched its lead over the last few years with the number of Australians drinking wine increasing from 8,096,000 (41 per cent) pre-pandemic to 9,068,000 (44.1 per cent) in the 12 months to September 2023 – an increase of nearly 1 million people.

The spirits category enjoyed a clear ‘pandemic boost’ of over 1 million extra consumers and in the 12 months to December 2021 there were 6,759,000 (33.8 per cent) Australians drinking spirits, however this ‘boost’ has now receded. There are now 5,623,000 (27.3 per cent) Australians drinking spirits, down slightly from 5,671,000 (28.7 per cetn) pre-pandemic.

In contrast to wine and RTDs, the major category that hasn’t been able to arrest a long-term decline is the beer category. Although consumption of beer did increase during the early stages of the pandemic this momentum quickly dissipated.

Now under a third of Australians, 6,725,000 (32.7 per cent) consume beer, down significantly from the 7,413,000 (37.6 per cetn) who did so in the 12 months to March 2020 just before the pandemic struck and turned the world upside down during much of the past four years.

The fifth most popular category alcohol is cider, which dipped significantly during the pandemic but has since recovered much of this lost ground. During the 12 months to December 2021 only 1,620,000 (8.1 per cent) consumed cider, down by nearly 500,000 compared to pre-pandemic consumption of 2,114,000 (10.7 per cent). Since this low point in 2021 consumption has recovered by over 300,000 to 1,953,000 (9.5 per cent) in late 2023.




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Australian drinking habits Roy Morgan

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