UK’s lockdown consumers in sober mood

Consumer insight from marketing consultant CGA’s BrandTrack survey in the UK has revealed how the public there has shifted its drinking habits with pubs, bars and restaurants still closed.

CGA reports that those consumers drinking more alcohol than usual are younger and more affluent than those cutting down during lockdown.

CGA’s survey also indicates the extent to which habits and attitudes are changing during lockdown.

The main consumer concerns in the UK centre on finance, health and job security, with 85% of consumers worried about the long-term financial implications of Covid-19 and an even greater proportion (89%) worried about their health and that of their families.

Over half (54%) are worried about job security.
The study of 5,000 consumers reveals that, as health has become a bigger issue, overall alcohol consumption has fallen across the UK.

“Habits are polarised, however, with 17% of those who usually drink alcohol increasing their consumption, while 28% are drinking less than usual,” states CGA, “A further 9% have taken the opportunity to cut out alcohol completely.”

46% report drinking the same amount of alcohol.

CGA also reports that those consumers drinking more alcohol than usual are younger and more affluent than those cutting down during lockdown.
For regular pub- and bar-goers – typically those who’d drink out at least weekly – the results are even more polarised, with one in five increasing consumption compared to 45% who’ve cut down or cut out alcohol altogether.
The research also holds clues about how consumers’ attitudes towards drinks brands are changing under lockdown, with a nod to the efforts of many companies and the support they’re providing to the wider community.

“Three quarters of consumers suggest that they would be more willing to purchase a product from a brand that behaved ethically or morally during the Covid-19 outbreak” according to the survey, “while 70% also agreed that they would be more likely to visit or engage with brands or chains that have offered their services during the Covid-19 crisis.”
There have also been significant shifts within alcohol category consumption during lockdown.

“While all drink categories have seen falls” reports CGA, “some have seen less of a negative impact than others. Wine remains the most popular choice for drinkers at home, followed by lager. However, with a decrease of 27% in terms of number of drinkers from out-of-home to in-home, lager has been affected more than wine, with an equivalent fall of 11%. Whisk(e)y has been affected the least.”

But there are some potential bright spots for the out-of-home food and drink market once the lockdown is lifted, with a third of adults saying they continue to support local hospitality businesses.
Of those saying they’re backing local pubs and restaurants 36% did so by using takeaway food or delivery services, 32% had purchased vouchers or bar tabs at local venues to use on re-opening and 20% had donated to online fundraising initiatives such as buying a “virtual pint”.

CGA summarises its findings, stating, “The polarisation of alcohol consumption shows no clear demographic bias, suggesting that these are decisions made on a personal level. Understanding this through a category lens will provide further clarity and allow for more strategic planning based on consumer habits however, for consumers who are drinking categories at home that they do not in the on-trade, there could be longer term shifts in category mix.”



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