The insidious marketing tactics of Big Alcohol have led to a record $15.6 billion in retail sales in 2020 in Australia. The alcohol industry exploited the ongoing public health crisis to promote alcohol as a coping mechanism at great cost to Australians’ health.

Alcohol retail sales in Australia reached an all time high in 2020 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that,

  • Australian alcohol retailers turned over $15.6 billion in sales in 2020;
  • Alcohol retail sales grew only $195 million between 2018 and 2019 but soared by 27% between 2019 and 2020, growing by $3.3 billion more.
$3.3 billion
Soaring alcohol sales during pandemic
Alcohol retail sales rose by 27% between 2019 and 2020, growing by $3.3 billion.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) explains that predatory marketing of the alcohol industry during the pandemic is the cause for the rise in alcohol sales.

During COVID-19 we’ve seen alcohol retailers and online delivery companies engage in prolific marketing that promotes using alcohol as a way to cope during the pandemic,” said Caterina Giorgi, Chief Executive of FARE, as per Yahoo News.

Caterina Giorgi, chief executive, FARE

Research by FARE and the Cancer Council WA found that Australians were exposed to an alcohol advertisement every 35 seconds on Facebook and Instagram.

Family violence services are seeing an increase in alcohol-related family violence. Alcohol and other drug treatment services are also seeing more people reach out for help with alcohol.

FARE advocates for the following policy solutions to safeguard Australians from Big Alcohol’s practices:

  • Improving the rules around the currently largely unregulated alcohol marketing,
  • Limiting late night and rapid online alcohol delivery, and
  • Boosting investment in alcohol and other drug services to help reduce alcohol-fuelled harm.

Alcohol companies have demonstrated their predatory instincts by aggressively marketing products during COVID-19 and this is resulting in big profits – but at what cost to the health and wellbeing of our families and communities?” questioned Caterina Giorgi, Chief Executive of FARE, as per MYGC.

Companies should not be able to use a global health crisis as an opportunity to sell more alcoholic products at the detriment of the health of Australians.”

Caterina Giorgi, Chief Executive, FARE


Yahoo News: “Grog sales soared during pandemic: ABS

MYGC: “Australia’s liquor sales reached ‘unprecedented’ levels during 2020