2020 will be a year like no other in the history books! Many different sectors felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with hospitality being one of the biggest affected. But did the long-term closure of many pubs and restaurants have a knock-on effect on people's drinking habits?
That may seem like a question with an easy answer; of course, it did. But alcohol was still readily available in many shops, so to say people didn't have easy access to alcoholic beverages wouldn't be truthful. But did people still drink a lot even during a lockdown?
Well, let's find out, shall we? Opinium is a market research and insight agency with an impressive reputation for high quality. They conducted numerous research studies on behalf of Drinkaware to find out more about people's drinking habits across the UK. We’ll be looking at their data to see what we can uncover.
Did People Drink Less During The Lockdown?
Their first survey was conducted just seven weeks into the UK's first lockdown. The results were a somewhat mixed bag, but they did definitely show that people's drinking habits had changed and not always for the better.
Around 24% of the people surveyed reported drinking more alcohol, with 17% drinking less. However, 22% of adults surveyed said they were drinking alcohol on days they normally wouldn't. The more worrying news was that 36% of the people who were furloughed had begun drinking more.
The second survey was recorded in July and did show some more troubling news. With 38% of people drinking more on average. Furloughed staff increased slightly, with 38% drinking more on average.
However, 15% of the people surveyed did report drinking less. While pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen during this time, 40% of the people surveyed did say they wouldn't return to drinking establishments for the foreseeable future.
20% of the people surveyed also reported potential long-term changes to their old drinking habits due to seeing financial benefits from cutting down their drinking. A final survey was conducted in December 2020 and gave a clearer bigger of how adults' drinking habits had changed during the lockdown.
The good news is that 39% of the people surveyed were actively trying to change their drinking habits or plan to in the near future. 57% of the people surveyed also said they wouldn't drink during a work night even if they were working from home.
Although 32% of the people surveyed reported drinking more during lockdown as well. Although 40% of the people surveyed did drink less during the "festive period" of December. So, what can we really say about people's drinking habits during lockdown?
Well, while many people did drink less during lockdown due to the closure of pubs and restaurants, the reverse is also true. Many people did drink more than they usually would, and worryingly, a higher percentage of furloughed workers surveyed did begin drinking more than they would normally.
So, while lockdown definitely did help some people drink less and even make active changes to their drinking habits, it certainly didn't help everyone. However, if you are looking to drink less, then now could still be a good time to do it. There has been a rise in alcohol-free socialising, and events like Dry January have seen a lot of success.