Over-65s lead at-home drinking trend

24th July, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

UK value sales of alcoholic drinks for at-home consumption are reported to have leapt 15% in the last five years, although volumes are in decline thanks to rising prices and a health conscious younger generation.

drinking at homeIn contrast to the significant rise in value sales, new data from Mintel, shows that volume sales of alcohol for at-home consumption during the same period from 2009-2014 fell by nearly 3%, from 3.9 billion litres to 3.8bn litres.

Having jumped by 5% in 2010, value growth in this at-home sector has continued to rise since then by 2-4% each year and is expected to reach £16.1bn in 2014, 2.5% higher than last year. Mintel predicted that growth would continue in the future to reach £18bn by 2019.

However, the company forecasted an ongoing downward trend for volume off-trade sales, which are expected to shrink by around 3% from their present level to reach 3.7bn litres by 2019.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Johnny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, said:
“Alcohol consumption in the UK is in decline reflecting considerations such as continued financial pressures and health awareness. Initiatives such as the now-abandoned alcohol tax escalator, while raising extra money for the public purse, have pushed up prices at a time when discretionary spending is squeezed.”

Although acknowledging that these price rises meant that the at-home sector faced a similar chance of people cutting back on consumption, Forsyth suggested: “External factors such as the weather and high-profile events such as the football World Cup could help to boost spending on alcoholic drinks.”

The report also highlighted higher levels of alcohol consumption at home among the over-65-year-old demographic, with 18%, or nearly one in five, people in this age group drinking at home on a daily basis, compared to 11% of 18-24-year-olds.

Marking a contrast between public perception and reality, Forsyth remarked: “The current generation of younger drinkers are one of the most sensible generations we have seen, and their attitude to alcohol – and indeed all drugs – is far more conservative than their Baby Boomer parents.”

In terms of the most popular drinks being consumed at home, Mintel identified wine as the leader, with 68% of people choosing this category. In second place was lager, chosen by 50% of people who drink at home, followed by cider at 41%.

However, this league table changes according to age group, with 82% of over-65s choosing to drink wine, compared to 58% of 18-24-year olds. Meanwhile lager proved the most popular drink for the 25-44-year-old demographic, where 58% of people chose this category, compare to just 26% of over-65s.

In particular Forsyth pointed to the growing success of the cider category, saying: “Cider has been the big winner in retail over the past couple of years, led by 18-24 year-old men and women. It now has 56% in-home penetration among this younger age group. which puts it equal to beer, which has struggled to engage with younger women.”

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