Young Australians are drinking about 50 per cent less alcohol than people the same age 10 years ago, according to new research from the University of New South Wales, La Trobe University and the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, published online in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Dr Michael Livingston from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University said Australians who are in their teens or early 20s were drinking much less than previous generations. “We’re seeing both a decline in the choice to drink, and amongst those who do choose to drink, a decline in the amount they drink. It’s something like, on average, about half as much alcohol consumed by teenagers as there was 10 years ago.”
Underage drinking among 14-17 year olds fell by 45 per cent over the six years from 2007. Over the same period, drinking among 20-24 year olds fell by more than a quarter and by more than a fifth among 25-29 year olds.
20-24 year olds still account for the largest amount of alcohol consumed per head of population, followed by 40-49 year olds
In contrast older age groups, either showed no change or actually increased their drinking. Drinking among Australians aged 60-69 increased by nearly 6 per cent from 2007-2013. Drinking among 40-49 year olds remained largely steady.
But while we might be drinking less, Australians seem to be drinking better with our per capita spend on alcohol rising as we seek out more premium alcoholic beverages.
The emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) Alcoholic Beverages Trends & Insights Report* backs up the other university reports, finding that half of people aged 18 years and over say they are drinking less now than they used to.
The report also shows a move to premium beverages, with the dollar value of liquor sales rising 1.5 per cent in 2015, which means Australians are spending more on their favourite drink.
Australia is an overwhelmingly wine and beer drinking nation. Wine is our most popular drink, although men up to age 65 prefer beer.
Cider is our third most popular drink, followed by scotch or whiskey, with other varieties well behind. Women opt for wine more than twice as often as other drinks, whereas men are more varied in their consumption patterns.
White wine edges out red as the most consumed at 43% of adults, compared to 41%, while 23% enjoy sparkling wine or champagne.
The move by Australians towards more premium beverages and spending more as a result, underscores the importance of effective brand positioning and marketing.
Perceptions of quality and value change as people age and emma data shows that older people are more likely to believe that Australian wine is better than that from overseas. They were also less likely to try foreign beers, preferring homegrown brands.
There has been a shift in places and occasions where Australians prefer to drink, which changes by age and life stage. The majority of Australians prefer to drink at home, which was most prevalent among 30-32 years olds at 87%.
Venues where alcohol is consumed differ among various age groups. For example, among 24-26 year olds, 61% drank at a friend or relative’s house, while 19% of 18-20 year olds drank at a nightclub.
Among older people, 50% of 45-47 year olds drank at a restaurant or café, while 36% of 54-56 year olds drank at a bar or pub and a third of 66-68 year olds preferred to drink at a club.
To download the emma Alcoholic Beverages Trends & Insights Report click on the following link >> emma report