The majority of people are drinking the same amount of alcohol or less during lockdown, new surveys have found.
With pubs and restaurants shut since March, a survey by alcohol industry regulator Portman Group has measured how much consumers have been drinking during lockdown.
Of the 2,070 people surveyed, between May 22 and 26, two-thirds (65%) said they were drinking the same, less or had stopped.
These findings were echoed in a separate survey by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), which found that 84% of drinkers were consuming the same or less alcohol during lockdown.
Commenting on the findings, published on Friday, Portman Group chief executive John Timothy said: “These surveys are further proof that fears of Brits binge-drinking through lockdown are unfounded, with the majority of UK drinkers continuing to remain within the Government’s low-risk guidelines, even those drinking a little bit more than previously.
“However, we must be mindful that there remains a minority who continue to drink at hazardous levels and have actually increased their consumption, and we join with other organisations in calling for those struggling to be given the professional support they need.”
Portman Group found that, of the 35% of adults who were drinking more, 28% said they were drinking a little more and 7% a lot more.
Some 81% of those drinking less and 72% of those drinking about the same were within the 14 unit-a-week low-risk guidelines. Of those drinking more, almost half (44%) were drinking within the guidelines.
It is encouraging that many intend to maintain these moderate habits as restaurants and bars, which have been sorely missed as a vital part of many people’s social well-being, begin to openHenry Ashworth, IARD
Those respondents who increased their drinking and were above 14 units a week tended to be male, older drinkers, and those who were unemployed or retired, Portman Group said.
Some 18% of drinkers who were consuming less alcohol said they were intentionally limiting how much they bought in shops, while 10% said they were having alcohol-free days during the week.
Meanwhile, the IARD found in its survey of 2,140 UK adults, conducted between May 13 and 14, that 50% expected to maintain their new drinking habits, whilst 35% expected to return to pre-lockdown levels.
IARD president Henry Ashworth said: “Despite reports of people rushing to stock up on alcohol in supermarkets, pictures of empty shelves, and early increases in off-premise alcohol sales, today’s polling indicates that the vast majority of people in these nine countries consumed the same or less alcohol during shutdowns.
“It is also encouraging that many intend to maintain these moderate habits as restaurants and bars, which have been sorely missed as a vital part of many people’s social well-being, begin to open.”