Close Menu

Has Dry January hit French booze sales hard?

Retail sales of alcohol fell sharply last month across France as reports claimed that the impact of Dry January could be impacting the on-trade in the country.

According to the latest figures from insight firm Circana, and highlighted on French broadcaster BFM TV, off-trade sales of wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks fell by 6.4% in January compared to 2023 figures.

Although the country is still struggling from inflationary pressures and consumers are cutting back on non-essential items, Dry January campaign could be to blame due to the continuing trend on yearly falls.

Falling sales

Across a six year period alcohol sales in France have been dropping each January, with 13% less alcohol sold in 2024 than in 2018, while at the same time non-alcoholic beverages, including low- and no-alcohol wine and beer has surged by 48% in the same time period.

Statistics last year revealed that one in three French consumers had purchased low- and no-alcohol products with almost half of them being under the age of 25 years old.

The news follows a broader trend towards lower alcohol consumption in France with public health authority Sante Publique France stating alcohol consumption has dropped by two-thirds in the last 30 years.

Last month President of France Emmanuel Macron was accused by abstinence lobbyists of failing to back an alcohol-free campaign for January. An open letter was written in Le Monde, where addiction specialists outlined the need for “strong support from public authorities for Dry January”.

Doctors wrote that their “confidence in the government to carry out a coherent and determined policy against alcoholism is seriously compromised.”

Dubbed Défi de Janvier or the January Challenge, the month-long abstinence challenge is now in its fifth year in France, with the French Society of Public Health (SFSP) and its members supporting the initiative.

Market growth

It also comes as low alcohol options continue to gather pace globally, although they are still a small proportion of the overall market, at only 3.6%.

Consumption of no- and low-alcohol drinks is set to increase by a third by 2026, spurred on by growing consumer demand.

Volume CAGR is forecast at 7% between 2022 and 2026, compared to +5%, 2018-22. Non-alcoholic products are set to spearhead this growth, and are expected to account for over 90% of the forecast total category volume growth.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No