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Proportion of Australians drinking alcohol down from 2014

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014, n = 19,120; April 2018 – March 2018, n = 16,276. Base: Australians 18+
In an average four week period, 67.5% of the Australian population aged 18 and over consume at least one type of alcoholic drink. This represents a gradual decline over the last five years from 70.1% recorded in 2014. All major categories of alcoholic drinks showed declines in incidence over this period, apart from cider which increased.

These are some of the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s ‘Alcohol Consumption Currency Report March 2019’ which is based on in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their homes, including detailed questioning of over 15,000 regarding their alcoholic drinking habits.

Wine the most popular alcoholic drink just ahead of beer

Wine is consumed by 42.8% of the Australian population aged 18+ over an average four week period, ahead of beer with 38.2% and spirits on 26.3%. Cider is now consumed by 11.4% which has increased from 11.1% five years ago, making it the only type of alcohol to increase. The incidence of cider drinkers is now ahead of RTD (10.8%), Liqueurs (6.5%) and Fortified Wine (4.9%).

Over the last five years the biggest decline was for wine (down 2.3% points), followed by liqueurs (down 1.2% points), RTD (down 0.9% points). Beer showed a decline of 0.6% points and as a result closed the gap marginally to wine as Australia’s most widely drunk type of alcohol.

Alcohol Consumption Incidence in an average four weeks – March 2019 cf. March 2014

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014, n = 19,120; April 2018 – March 2018, n = 16,276. Base: Australians 18+


Beer is drunk in the greatest volume by Australians

Although wine is the most popular alcoholic drink in terms of the number of drinkers, beer is clearly the top in terms of volume (based on glasses). The following chart shows that beer accounts for 45% of the volume of alcoholic drinks consumed more than wine (29.1%) and spirits (13.2%) combined.

However, since 2014 gains in share of volume were seen for wine (up 2.4% points), cider (up 0.8% points) and spirits (up 0.6% points). Losses in share were greatest for beer (down 2.8% points) and RTDs (down 1.1% points).

Alcohol Share of Volume Consumed 12 months to March 2019

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2014, n = 19,120; April 2018 – March 2018, n = 16,276. Base: Australians 18+.

Women prefer wine by a big margin while men usually choose to drink beer

There are big differences between the alcohol preferences of women and men in Australia however the vast bulk of alcohol drunk in Australia is by men (66.6%) almost double the overall volume of alcohol drunk by women (33.4%).

The most popular alcohol by volume for women is easily wine which accounts for 48.2% of the volume of alcohol drunk by women. Well behind is beer which comprises 18.3% of the volume of alcohol drunk by women, spirts (15.2%), RTD (7.5%), Cider (5.8%), Liqueurs (2%), Fortified Wine (1.1%) and Other types of alcohol (1.9%).

For men it is beer which takes all before it taking a 58.4% share of the volume of alcohol men consume. The second most popular type of alcohol drunk by men is wine which comprises 19.5% of the volume of alcohol drunk by men, followed by spirits (12.2%), RTD (4.9%), Cider (2.6%), Liqueurs (1%), Fortified Wine (0.8%) and Other types of alcohol (0.6%).

Alcohol Share of Volume Consumed 12 months to March 2019: Women cf. Men


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Apr 2018-Mar 2019, n=16,276. Base: Australian Alcohol Consumers 18+.

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says:

“Alcohol has often been considered to have a central role in the social life of many Australians however the latest research from Roy Morgan shows that a declining proportion of Australians are now drinking alcohol. Now just over two-thirds of Australians (67.5%) drink alcohol in an average four weeks, down 2.6% points from five years ago (70.1%).

“As was the case five years ago it is wine which edges out beer as the most widely drunk type of alcohol, although a smaller proportion of Australians are drinking each than five years ago. Now 42.8% of Australians drink wine in an average four weeks, down 2.3% points from 2014, while 38.2% now drink beer, down only 0.6% points.

“The proportion of Australians drinking other types of alcohol including spirits, RTD, Liqueurs and Fortified Wine has fallen over the last five years but there is a bright spot with 11.4% of Australians now drinking cider in an average four weeks, up 0.3% points on 2014.

“Although wine is more widely drunk, it is beer which dominates the overall volume of alcohol drunk in Australia. Beer comprises a 45% share of the volume of alcohol drunk in Australia compared to 29.1% for wine, 13.2% for spirits, 5.8% for RTD and 3.7% for cider. However, as we’ve highlighted, the drinking habits of Australians are changing and beer’s share of the volume has declined 2.8% points from five years ago while wine’s share has increased 2.4% points.

“In large part the success of Australia’s alcohol retailers and brands rides on the drinking habits of Australian men who drink around two thirds (66.6%) of all alcohol drunk in Australia while women drink the remaining 33.4%.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly it is men who drink the bulk of beer consumed in Australia and the traditional favourite comprises a huge 58.4% share of all alcohol consumed by men by volume compared to only 19.5% for second-placed wine. However, a deeper analysis of the beer-drinking habits of Australian men reveals the tradition may be on a long-term decline.

“Today beer comprises only 46.7% of the volume of alcohol drunk by 18-24 year old men compared to 51% five years ago in 2014 and an even higher 62.1% a decade ago in 2009. Over the same time period the share of cider for this age group has increased from only 1.3% in 2009 to 5.9% today.

“In contrast to Australian men the drinking habits of Australian women are dominated by the consumption of wine which comprises a dominant 48.2% of all alcohol consumed by women by volume compared to only 18.3% for second-placed beer and 15.2%  for spirits.

“The data used in this release covers only a small part of what is available in the full database and in the ‘Alcohol Consumption Currency Report’ and the ‘Alcohol Retail Currency Report’. To find out more ask Roy Morgan.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309
askroymorgan@roymorgan.com


About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2