In 2020 a total of 13,337,000 Australians (67.0%) aged 18+ consumed alcohol in an average four-week period, up from 13,021,000 (66.2%) a year earlier.
Driving this increase were significant increases for wine and spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted 2020. The number of Australians drinking wine increased from 8,065,000 Australians (41.0%) to 8,814,000 (44.3%) – an increase of 3.3% points over the year.
In addition there were 6,277,000 Australians (31.5%) drinking spirits in 2020, up from 5,465,000 (27.8%) a year earlier – an increase of 3.7% points. Also increasing was consumption of Ready-to-drinks (RTDs) which increased from 2,101,000 Australians (10.7%) up to 2,392,000 Australians (12.0%).
However, outside these three categories the long-term trends continued with fewer Australians drinking beer, cider, liqueurs and fortified wines in 2020.
Beer led the decline and was down from 7,353,000 Australians (37.4%) in 2019 to 6,878,000 (34.6%) in 2020. If the trends of last year were to continue this year the number of Australians drinking spirits would overtake those drinking beer.
The findings are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most trusted and comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with 50,000 Australians each year.
Proportion of Australians who consume alcohol in an average four-week period
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Jan-Dec 2019, n= 15,197. Jan-Dec 2020, n= 39,953. Base: Australians aged 18+.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the increase in the consumption of wine and spirits during 2020 has reversed the trend of declining consumption of alcohol by Australians – but will the unprecedented nature of a year dominated by COVID-19 and lockdowns prove an aberration?