Study of Consumer Attitudes to Drinking
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TO DRINKING – UK – AUGUST 2010 – Consumer Usage – Market in Brief ? There are opportunities for both the on- and off-trade to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to try different drinks. As cocktails are associated with bartender knowledge, skill and theatre of serve, there is scope for the pub industry to differentiate and for manufacturers to replicate, as already seen by Bacardi’s Mojito mixed drink, now complete with branded packs of ice cubes at Tesco. Internal marketing Environment
UK alcohol consumption has been in decline since 2004 but penetration levels are still high as drinking is deeply ingrained in the British culture.
What People Drink and How Often Although alcohol consumption is down in the UK, consumers are increasing their drinking repertoire, with cider now ranked alongside the lager, wine and spirits categories. Rose benefits from appealing to all age groups and the much sought-after younger demographic, something the red and white varieties have failed to do. ? Rose wine has managed to do what white and red wine have been trying to do for years: appeal to the younger demographic.
While it is not as popular a drink as the other wine flavours, white spirits or cider, rose has the advantaged in appealing almost equally to every age group, from 18-24-year-olds to the over-55s. ? Lager has been drunk by the most people (60%) over the past 12 months and is the largest market in terms of volume sales (see Internal Market Environment). ? Lager drinking remains largely male-dominated, with three quarters of men drinking lager in the last year compared to 40% of women, while the opposite is the case for white and sweeter-tasting rose wines, which women tend to prefer. Choice differs by age
Figure 17: Types of alcohol drunk in the last 12 months, by age, August 2010 Base: 838 internet users aged 18+ ? Over a third of women, however, drink alcohol less than once a month or never drink alcohol. Interestingly, and in contrast to reports in the media, the highest proportion of people who never drink alcohol is amongst the 25-34-year-old age group, followed by 18-24-year-olds. ? According to Mintel’s On-trade Soft Drinks – UK, December 2009 report, women are much more likely than men to drink soft drinks in the on-trade and are opting for healthier and somewhat more expensive drinks when they do so. There are several barriers to women drinking alcohol, including health and social mores. Mintel’s Understanding Drinking Occasions and Unlocking Potential Customers – UK, August 2009 report found that almost a third of women would be encouraged to try a new alcoholic drink if it were low in calories, suggesting that brands, retailers and pubs need to do more to inform health-conscious customers that lower-ABV and -calorie alcoholic drinks exist, both in the off- and on-trade.
Factors influencing drinking habits: ? The social dimension is important when drinking alcohol, with over half of consumers drinking when catching up with friends. This is a universal factor of why people drink, being a key reason for over half of men and women and typically most important to 18-34-year-olds, although this is still high for the over-35s and across almost all socio-economic groups. Social beings
Figure 24: Net difference* between any agree statements on drinking alcohol, by gender, June 2010 Base: 1,701 internet users aged 18+ who have drunk alcohol in the last 12 months * this is worked out by subtracting the percentage of female drinkers agreeing with each statement from the percentage of males. For example, 65% of female drinkers said ‘I don’t like running a tab as I can lose track of how much I’m spending’ compared to 58% of men, therefore giving a score of +7 percentage points.
Source: GMI/Mintel Key analysis: While sharing pitchers of beer is common in the US and larger beer glasses pervade the European Continent (e. g. 1-litre beer steins in Germany), in the UK the defining consumer drinking behaviour is the buying of rounds. What is probably most peculiar with buying rounds of drinks is the fact that friends or family are able to request whatever drink they like, regardless of price or type, in the (usually) safe knowledge that the gesture will be returned.
More could be done to encourage customers to share their knowledge of favoured drinks when buying rounds, therefore acting as brand ambassadors by driving word-of-mouth recommendations. Drinking Habits Among 18-24yr Olds – UK – June 2010 – Drinking in Context ? Findings in this report indicate that both young men and women feel under considerable pressure to drink to excess, even if they do not like the taste or the experience of getting drunk. While this is more pronounced among men, who are trying to fit in with masculine norms, a sense of social pressure to drink is also common among women. This causes greater internal conflict for them, as women are not only constrained by negative gender stereotypes of getting drunk, but they are also much more sensible about the potential detrimental health problems that alcohol abuse can cause. However, women aged 18-24 are most influenced to not drink by their ego rather than concerns about their health, with the prospect of putting on weight being the single most influential factor in their not drinking alcohol. However, despite this they are just as likely to binge drink as men, although they are less likely to be extreme binge drinkers. As a rule they prefer sweeter-tasting drinks; they are almost three times as likely as all adults to drink pre-mixed spirits (also known as alcopops or alcoholic ready-to-drinks); as well as being much more likely to drink cider and spirits which mix well with soft drinks and in cocktails, such as white rum, bourbon. ? The choice of drinks for 18-24s is influenced by alcohol being such an acquired taste, meaning that younger drinkers prefer sweeter drinks which disguise the raw taste of alcohol.
For example, a major finding from Mintel’s Wine – UK, June 2009 was that wine was attracting many more consumers once they reached their mid-thirties onwards, and a main reason for this was that it takes people a while to develop their drinking palates, alongside a greater propensity to drink at home. ? Recently rose has started to attract younger drinkers put off by the negative baggage surrounding alcoholic ready-to-drinks (ARTDs), but it is the brands with higher sugar content, rather than dry roses which are leading the charge. Cider has been one of the few alcoholic beverages to see its sales volumes increasing yearly over the past five years. It has benefited from being re-invented by the Magners ‘on ice’ concept. This appealed to younger drinkers and women by highlighting its refreshment and fresh, fruity taste, in particular for summer occasions (see Cider – UK, November 2008). Few people understand how easy it is to binge drink… Binge drinking is defined according to government guidelines as: * for women, drinking six units of alcohol or more in one session (ie two large glasses of wine)
Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages – UK – October 2007 – Market in Brief * Young women have traditionally been the target for FABs and certainly the profile of those that drink them at least once a week still reflects that, for both on- and off-trade drinkers. The regular FAB drinker is more likely to be female, single and less affluent. * There is still some appeal among older women (25-34) who perhaps started drinking when FABs first appeared on the market, although it’s more likely these consumers are drinking less than they use to. Some women have been attracted to the new innovations in lower-calorie FABs, however, the research shows there is a growing need to develop the category as these consumers are looking for a more sophisticated drink. SWOT Strengths * Consumer demand for more refreshing drinks with lower alcohol levels. * Growing interest in fruit-flavoured drinks. * A large proportion of consumers occasionally drinking FABs providing an opportunity to increase frequency. * Increased NPD in this market. Government campaigns on units should alert consumers to lower strength than is perceived. * A willingness from retailers to develop the category via premiumisation. Weaknesses * Fall in the number of consumers drinking alcohol as healthy lifestyles take hold. * Poor image associated with the category with underage consumers and binge drinkers. * Continued price pressure from supermarkets. * FABs’ unsuitability to developing on-trade occasions such as food-led. Lack of premium offering appealing to over-25s. * For a market in decline focus on young women is limiting the appeal and targeting requires a broader audience. * Increased competition from cider and lager offered in premium-style bottles. * Declining availability as increased options in premium drinks such as lagers, ales and ciders and soft drinks squeeze shelf space both in supermarkets and bars. Drinks Market 2008 Key Note Alcoholic drinks worth an estimated ? 41. 6bn