How Dependent is the Alcohol Industry on Heavy [Alcohol Use] in England?
To understand the extent of the alcohol industry’s financial dependence on alcohol use above government low‐risk guidelines in England.
Scenario modelling using descriptive analyses of pooled data from the 2013 and 2014 waves of two nationally representative surveys: the Health Survey for England (HSE) and the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF). The study estimated the proportion of alcohol sales revenue accounted for by alcohol users above guideline levels, and how this varies between different beverage and retailer types. The study then estimated the impact on sales revenue if the entire population reduced their alcohol use to within guideline levels, as well as the average price increases necessary to compensate for such a loss of revenue.
A total of 16 872 individual (HSE) and 9975 household (LCF) survey respondents.
Transaction‐level estimates of volume of alcohol purchased and price paid by beverage type and trade sector.
Those using alcohol above guideline levels are estimated to account for 68% of total alcohol sales revenue in 2013/14: 81% of off‐trade revenue and 60% of on‐trade revenue. This represents 77% of beer, 70% of cider, 66% of wine and 50% of spirits sales value. The heaviest alcohol using 4% of the population account for 30% of all consumption and 23% of all industry revenue. If all consumers reduced their alcohol use to within guideline levels, alcohol sales revenue could decline by 38% (£13 billion). To mitigate this loss, average prices paid would have to rise substantially—for example, by £2.64 for a pint of on‐trade beer or £12.25 for a 70 cl bottle of off‐trade spirits.
In England, the alcohol industry appears to be highly financially dependent upon heavy alcohol use, and might face significant financial losses were consumers to use alcohol within guideline levels.