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Consumers drinking less alcohol during pandemic

Alcohol consumption has decreased in most markets during the pandemic, except for in the US and Canada, according to new research by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data suggests most markets will report lower alcohol consumption levels in 2020

IWSR analysed 20 ‘key’ markets, including global travel retail (GTR), which account for more than 75% of global alcohol volumes.

The data showed beverage alcohol consumption volumes during the pandemic are set to fall 8% in 2020. Consumption is expected to decline in Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the UK and GTR.

The US and Canada are the only markets expected to buck the trend, with consumption volumes forecast to rise by more than 2% in each country.

In total, beverage alcohol across the 19 countries is expected to decline by 8%, with GTR volumes forecast to plummet 68% in 2020.

The main reason for the decline in volume consumption is reduced purchasing in the on-trade. Some countries, such as Australia, were able to offset on-trade closures better than others as the alcohol market is skewed more towards the off-trade.

However, alcohol volume consumption is still forecast to fall 1% in Australia this year because the increase in at-home consumption was not enough to compensate for on-trade closures.

Other regions, such as Spain, will have felt the effects of lockdown measures more severely. In Spain, approximately 70% of alcohol consumption takes place in the on-trade. Therefore, total beverage alcohol is forecast to be down by 16% in 2020.

South Africa is expected to be down by 34% this year compared with 2019, while India is forecast to fall by 22%. This is due to the governments in both countries implementing a ban on alcohol sales.

Meanwhile in China, although IWSR data shows consumers are ‘most comfortable’ with returning to everyday activities, total beverage alcohol volumes are still expected to decrease by 9% in 2020.

In terms of spirits categories, the majority of categories are expected to post volume losses this year, with the exception of low- and no-alcohol, and ready-to-drink options.

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