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UK drinking habits under scrutiny: Alcohol trends sets out a potential marketing manifesto for brands following Maxus study

The recent study looking at trends and attitudes around alcohol consumption worldwide has found that UK continues to represent the most in-demand market and that individual preference is the number one driver for brand choice.

The data comes from Maxus, a WPP media agency, report titled "The Drinking Code" which found that the average British person consumes more alcohol per person that those in Australia, China, Germany, India and the US. It also reported that UK drinkers were more likely to binge drink, go to the pub and drink at home than people in other countries.

The study of of 6,500 adults across the six nations showed that UK alcohol consumers led the way in how regular they enjoyed a drink which was found to be over four times a week. More than a third (35 per cent) of UK respondents said they drank in a pub once a week compared to the global average of 25 per cent.

One of the most interesting findings for brands and marketers is that nearly two-thirds of consumers (62 per cent) agree that they tend to stick to one or two of their favourite alcoholic drinks brands at all times.

Of all the respondents only 39 per cent said that they enjoyed experimenting with different alcohol beverages and mixes with this number rising to 51% among the under 35s.

The figures suggest that alcohol consumers are creatures of habit which means that advertising campaigns will need to work hard to convince people to stray from what they are familiar with and try need or different brands. They will also look to target under 35s who are more open to new brands and more frequent drinkers.

Nick Vale, global head of planning at Maxus, said "over the last few years there have been wholesale changes in the way consumers are drinking, and we’re seeing the same trends globally. Small artisans are involved in production and consumers are creating new rituals and occasions.”

He added "this may be a new golden age for alcohol brands in many ways, but they also have to understand the changes in how, why and when people drink".

The study also highlighted when was best to target new customers which was not necessarily in a bar or restaurant where 70 per cent said they will choose their favourite drink. Formal business occasions represented a large window of opportunity with 64 per cent saying that they would not strictly choose their favourite.

Beer pouring: Image courtesy of ahmet guler at

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