World Cup accelerates at-home drinking trend

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Supermarket, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Datamonitor

More than one in three Brits will watch the England match at home
today, driving demand for off-trade alcohol as armchair fans reach
for a can.

Only one in ten Britons will go to a pub to watch the England vs. Trinidad and Tobago game, and research analyst Mintel predicts the month-long tournament will boost supermarket sales of beer and barbeques as consumers opt to stay at home for the whole season.

This has accelerated the at-home drinking trend that began in Britain earlier this decade.

The sector is now growing faster than the British pub, café and club sector, with the off-trade consumption of alcohol forecast to rise more than 15 per cent to £12.3bn by 2010, said Datamonitor.

In comparison, the on-trade alcoholic market will grow 10 per cent in value over the same period, even though consumption volume is declining.

"The investment in homes both financial and emotional is considerable so consumers want to spend time at home to enjoy the benefits of their outlay and good taste,"​ said Datamonitor's Matthew Adams.

Competitive pricing and extensive choice offered in UK supermarkets is also making drinking at home both affordable and pleasurable.

Britain's second largest supermarket Asda said that beer sales are up 65 per cent on this time last year, as customers stock up and stay in.

"The World Cup is always a busy time for us and lots of people will be watching the games from home. More people are now deciding to do that, rather than pay more for drinks in a pub,"​ a spokesperson said.

Tennents and Miller Genuine Draft are the best sellers in Scotland, while Stella and Fosters outstrip rival brands in England.

Currently one of the lowest consumption rates in Europe, the UK off-trade market represents the largest growth opportunity for drinks manufacturers. The 2005 per capita rate was 5.72 litres, compared with the European average of 6.79 litres.

"Drinking at home provides greater personal freedom for consumers and protection from the highly publicised binge-drinking culture, and drink-related violence and disorder,"​ Datamonitor stated.

"Drinking at home also gives freedom to smoke or avoid smoking in the run-up to the imminent watershed of the UK-wide on-trade smoking ban in 2007."

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