Global alcohol sales fell 6% during the novel coronavirus pandemic

An employee serves a beer in England as pubs, cafes and restaurants resume operations after the country’s lockdown was eased this week. JON SUPER / AP

Global alcohol sales fell 6% last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Data from market research group Euromonitor shows consumers bought 15.8 billion liters of alcoholic beverages less due to hospitality closures and social mixing restrictions.

Euromonitor data was collected from over 100 countries and highlighted the top 20 alcohol markets. South Africa, India, Spain and Vietnam saw the biggest drop in sales, the Financial Times reported.

Quoted in the FT, Henry Ashworth, chairman of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, said: “Despite reports of people rushing to get alcohol in supermarkets, images of empty shelves and fears that people will drink more when confined to their homes. , these sales figures definitely show that less alcohol was purchased in 2020. “

Previous surveys conducted for the alliance by YouGov in May and November of last year found that the majority of drinkers consumed the same amount or less of alcohol during lockouts.

But Ashworth noted that despite the reduction in global sales volumes, there were indications in the data that some groups already drinking at harmful levels have stepped up their consumption over the past year.

Quoted in a separate Retail Technology Innovation Hub article, he said: “Although the majority of drinkers continue to consume alcohol at moderate levels, we recognize that the pandemic has heightened the harmful drinking habits of some people.

“As societies begin to reopen, it is essential that private, public and civil societies come together to ensure that targeted and appropriate support is available to those who need it most.”

Industry news website The Drinks Business noted that the data showed the biggest declines in year-over-year sales volumes were in South Africa, which was down by 20.4%, perhaps because alcohol sales were limited in addition to hospitality closings, he said.

The figures revealed that sales in the UK were down 10.1% and figures in the world’s largest alcohol market, China, were down 8.5%.

Data from Euromonitor showed that the United States, which is the second largest market for alcoholic beverages, saw a year-over-year decline of just 0.6 percent.

Britain’s alcohol regulator, the Portman Group, released its report, produced by YouGov, on alcohol consumption during the pandemic last week.

He revealed that despite predictions that alcohol consumption will increase during the lockdown, drinkers have remained moderate over the past year.

YouGov found that overall alcohol consumption and sales have declined, which the Portman Group says is equivalent to 33 other national studies and government polls indicating that the crisis has not had a negative effect on drinking rates. alcohol consumption.

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