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What is the Drinkaware Monitor?
The Monitor is the only nationally representative survey of UK adults’ drinking habits and behaviour. Watch the video to find out more about this annually published report.
The Monitor 2023 Findings
What did we find out from the 2023 Monitor? The video shows the key findings of the report, which explored whether individuals act on their concerns about their loved one's drinking and how people feel about their relationship with alcohol.
In 2022, our Drinkaware Monitor found that 3 in 10 UK adults (29%) were concerned about someone else's drinking. This year, we aimed to delve deeper into this, examining whether individuals act on their concerns by initiating conversations with their partners, friends, or family. We wanted to understand how comfortable individuals are in initiating these conversations and examining what happens as a result.
In addition, we wanted to explore public attitudes to alcohol and drinking to identify social norms that might make it difficult for us, as a nation, to start having more honest conversations about alcohol.
There are some encouraging trends around drinking in the UK
- Whilst the proportion of non-drinkers in the UK has not changed in the last year, drinkers appear to be drinking less frequently: 39% drink alcohol less often than weekly compared to 33% in 2019.
- UK drinkers are increasingly drinking within low risk drinking guidelines, set by the UK Chief Medical Officers, of 14 units per week.
- There has been a significant fall in people drinking at home alone (but if they do drink at home alone it is likely that they do it regularly).
- But those struggling the most financially were most likely to have changed their drinking habits over the last 12 months due to the rising cost-of-living. One in ten drinkers struggling financially report drinking more alcohol in the last year whilst four in ten have been drinking less.
One in four (26%) UK adults are concerned about someone else's drinking
- Concern is most likely to be for a friend's drinking (36% of those with a concern indicate it relates to a friend, rising to 44% amongst males).
- When it comes to their own drinking, one in ten (11%) UK drinkers report that family, friends or a health professional have expressed concern about their drinking.
- UK adults are less comfortable having a conversation with friends or family about their drinking (only 29% would feel very comfortable starting a conversation with family and 24% with friends, compared to 45% with a partner).
- One in five people who are concerned about someone else's drinking have not said anything or taken any action.
Meaningful conversations about alcohol matter
- A third (35%) of people who had a concern raised about their drinking indicated that they made changes as a result.
- The qualitative research found that having these conversations can be difficult and emotional.
- Participants who have had conversations with people because they are concerned about their drinking often use different strategies to try to get the person to see that their drinking may be problematic, including being accusatory, being supportive or providing 'evidence' about their drinking habits or behaviours.
- Strategies used differ depending on the relationship and on how problematic their drinking is deemed to be, and some people have used multiple strategies during multiple conversations.
- Conversations often focus on how often or how much someone is drinking and the impact of this, but less often on the reasons why people feel the need to drink in this way.
- Conversations can have an impact on the person's drinking, or on their perceptions of their drinking, although this may take some time and may only occur after having multiple conversations.
- Ultimately, the impact of the conversations seems to largely depend on how open the drinker is to accepting that their drinking may be harmful or problematic.
For more information on research objectives, survey questions and methodology, see the tabs at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, download our technical report.
Interested researchers who wish to conduct independent analysis of our Monitor data are welcome to contact the research team at email@example.com.
The main objectives of the survey research were to:
- Provide an overview of drinking behaviour in the UK, measuring frequency and quantity of drinking among UK adults.
- Explore concern about other peoples’ drinking and comfort, prevalence, and impact of conversations about this.
- Explore public attitudes on alcohol, drinking, and alcohol policies.
- Gauge awareness of health conditions linked to alcohol.
The main objective of the qualitative research was to:
Gather views from the public about the conversations people are having (or want to have) with other people about their drinking.
In addition to questions capturing the nation’s drinking behaviour, the survey included questions on:
- Concerns and conversations about alcohol
- Public attitudes on alcohol, drinking, and alcohol policies
- Knowledge of health conditions linked to alcohol
- Impact of the rising cost of living on alcohol consumption and purchasing
- Prevalence of alcohol screening or assessments
- Drinking spiking [results to be published separately].
For full questionnaire, see the technical report.
Drinkaware commissioned YouGov to undertake the research on our behalf. YouGov interviewed a UK wide sample of 10,473 adults aged 18 to 85, including 6,948 in England, 1,302 in Wales, 1,565 in Scotland and 658 in Northern Ireland.
The sample was drawn from the YouGov research panel, with responses collected during July 2023. The survey was carried out online.
Using data from the Office for National Statistics, the results have been weighted to be representative of the UK adult population according to age, gender, social grade and region. The sampling and weighting process is exactly consistent with that used in the 2017,2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 Drinkaware Monitors.
Note: when compared to population-level sales data, self-reported surveys typically underestimate population alcohol consumption by between 30% and 60%.
For further information on methodology, and to view the questionnaire, please refer to the technical report.
Drinkaware commissioned PS Research to conduct qualitative research on individuals to views from the general public about the conversations people are having (or want to have) with other people about their drinking.
Four focus groups and 10 individual in-depth conversations took place between 2nd - 16th October 2023. Focus groups lasted approximately 90 minutes, with each group having 4-5 participants. In-depth interviews lasted between 30-50 minutes, and where conducted over an online video platform.
A total of 29 participants took part in the research. Minimum quotas were set on gender, age, ethnicity and SEG to ensure a mix of participants. Participants were recruited from all regions of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
Participants had to belong to one of the following groups:
- Been concerned about the drinking of a close friend or relative in the last 12 months and had a conversation about this with them
- Been concerned about the drinking of a close friend or relative in the last 12 months and either not mentioned these concerns to them or made a comment about these concerns but not had a conversation about this
- High risk drinkers (based on the AUDIT-C questionnaire) who have had a conversation with a relative, friend or health professional in the last 12 months because they were concerned about their drinking or where they had suggested that they cut down
More information on the methodology can be found in the report.
Last Reviewed: 30th November 2023
Next Review due: 30th November 2027