March 10, 2020

Gin and vodka drive spirits higher as other alcoholic beverages decline

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8311
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New data from Roy Morgan’s Alcohol Consumption Report shows the proportion of Australians drinking spirits is increasing, but all other alcohol types are declining. Gin and vodka are the two beverages driving the increasing popularity of spirits.

A total of 41% of Australians (an estimated 8,065,000 people) now consume wine in an average four week period and 37.4% (7,353,000) now drink beer putting these two types of alcohol well on top as Australian favourites.

However, in contrast to other types of alcohol it is spirits which are a growing market and now consumed by 27.8% (5,465,000) of Australians, up from 26.4% (5,095,000) twelve months ago. All other alcohol types declined over the same period.

The other types of alcohol in order of popularity are cider consumed by 11.3% (2,222,000) of Australians, RTDs (Ready-to-Drink pre-mixed spirit drinks) consumed by 10.7% (2,101,000), liqueurs consumed by 6.3% (1,240,000) and fortified wine consumed by 4.3% (850,000).

These findings come from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most trusted and most extensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with 1,000 Australians each week, for a total of about 50,000 each year.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that while the past five years has seen a decline in the proportion of Australians consuming alcohol, particularly younger Australians, the consumption of spirits is the exception to the rule:

“Looking at figures from 2006, we see around 25% of Australians drinking spirits, compared to nearly 28% today. But over the same period, the proportion of Australians drinking any alcohol type has declined, from 73% to around 66%.”

Gin experienced the largest growth over the past twelve months, rising from 7.4% to 9.0% of Australians consuming the drink in an average four-week period. Other sprits to increase included bourbon which was up to 7.5%, vodka rose to 6.4%, and dark rum grew to 4.2%.

“Gin has had a fascinating history, from ‘mother’s ruin’ in the 18th Century to being seen as a safe and unexciting choice mid-20th Century to its current reinvention – for there is no doubt that gin is very fashionable right now. Increasing demand has led to a surge in boutique distilleries as well as far greater variety for the curious bottle-shop browser who wishes to experiment,”  Ms. Levine said.

The 50-64 age group has more than its fair share of gin drinkers (10.2%). However younger Australians (the 18-24 age group) are much more likely than their older counterparts to drink other spirits including vodka (18.2%), bourbon (15.5%) and dark rum (7.3%).

“As well as being the most enthusiastic gin tipplers, the 50-64 age group contains the highest proportion of drinkers overall, with 71% regularly consuming alcohol. However, it’s the 18 to 24-year-olds which contains the highest proportion of spirit drinkers among any age group,”  Ms. Levine said.

Proportion of Australians who consume each beverage in an average four-week period

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2019, n= 15,197. Base: Australians aged 18+.

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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

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