Changing Behaviours: Worldwide Alcohol Consumption in 2018

In today’s world of business, knowing your customer is a very important procedure for marketing departments in many sectors – not least the brewing and alcohol industry.

 Alcohol Consumption

From drinking rates overall, to health considerations, purchase methods or product choice, there are a dizzying range of ways in which to analyse customer behaviour. The big brewers and wholesalers definitely know this. To that end, hundreds of studies and surveys are conducted around the globe every year.

But what then, are some of the findings to come out this year that might interest R&D departments in the alcoholic beverage industry as well as drinkers generally?

Underage Drinking

First off – the World Health Organisation recently released their twelve-year report on young people’s drinking habits across the European Union. Some major points from this report included:

  • The rate of 15-year-old European girls who have been drunk more than twice in their life is highest in Denmark (37.6%), Wales (33.6%) and Hungary (33.5%).
  • For boys, Hungary and Lithuania topped the charts with just over 40%. England clocked in at almost half as low, at 25%.
  • The study found that, in general, the rate of drinking amongst both European and British teens has fallen since 2002. 28% of European thirteen-year olds have experienced alcohol intoxication, down from 46% in the first year of the study.
  • However, British girls (specifically those from Wales) were still near the top of every list. They join girls across many European countries in an upward trend, mitigated by the big falls amongst boys.
Underage Drinking
Underage Drinking

Academics suggest rising anxiety levels and increased alcoholic advertising, both problems influenced by the rise of social media, may be a factor in the rising levels amongst girls.


Globally, more and more retail transactions are conducted online. However, alcohol sales have long been the exception to this fast-paced upward spike – except it seems in China. The International Wines and Spirits Record recently released a report, The Strategic Roadmap for Alcoholic Beverages, in which they detailed the rising demand for online booze sales in the world’s second largest economy.

The Chinese e-commerce alcohol market has been growing by an average of 15% annually for several years and is now valued at $6.1 billion. This is four times the size of the US market for alcohol bought online. In America, only 1% of alcohol sales occur on the web – compared to 7% in the UK and 9% in Germany. Outside of China, wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage for online shoppers, accounting for up to 70% of sales in some markets.

Aussie Rules

A new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the sheer amount of alcohol drank across the nation in 2017 reached a record low, not seen since 1961. Last year Aussies consumed 186 million litres of booze on the whole – equivalent to 9.4 litres per person. That might appear to be a hell of a lot of beers. But considering in 1972 Australians drank nearly 360 million litres, it doesn’t seem that much.