Opinium conducted research on behalf of Drinkaware, surveying 2,001 nationally representative UK adults aged 18 and between 3rd - 7th July 2020.
The survey investigated how drinking habits have changed since the lockdown began and the impact of work status and parenthood. Specifically, the impact of being furloughed and having children (under 18 years of age) in the home. We asked people how their drinking habits had changed since lockdown, and if they had changed, the reasons behind it. We also asked how people were feeling about returning to pubs and bars.
As the country approached its third month of lockdown, and as pubs, bars and restaurants were about to reopen, drinking habits and attitudes remained changed from the norm – but similar to our initial survey back in May.
Over one-fifth (22%) of the population reported drinking more than normal, with the main reasons due to boredom (29%) or simply having more time to drink (28%).
Among UK adults who reported either drinking ‘a bit more’ or ‘much more’ than they normally would:
- 38% are drinking on more days than usual (compared with the UK average 16%)
- 19% have had their first alcoholic drink earlier in the day than they would usually (compared with the UK average 10%)
- 17% find it difficult to stop at one (compared with the UK average 8%)
- 17% are drinking to cope with the day (compared with the UK average 8%)
- 15% are drinking alone when they wouldn’t usually (compared with the UK average 8%)
- 11% have to drink more to get the same effect (compared with the UK average 7%)
Fifteen percent of the population reported drinking less than normal since lockdown. Within this group, the main reason for the decrease was missing the social side of drinking. Just under one-third (31%) were not having contact with those they normally drank with, didn’t like drinking at home (31%), or when they are not out with friends (29%).
One-third of parents with children under 18 years of age reported drinking more than normal since lockdown, compared to one-fifth (19%) among those without children at home, or 16% among parents with adult children (18+) only.
17% of the population remained furloughed, and within this group, 38% reported drinking more than normal since before lockdown.
- 22% reported drinking more days a week than they usually would (compared with the UK average 16%)
- 15% reported having their first alcoholic drink earlier in the day than they would usually (compared with the UK average 10%)
- 14% reported the need to drink to cope with the day (compared with the UK average 8%)
- 14% found it difficult to stop at one drink (compared with the UK average 8%)
Returning to pubs and bars
As pubs and bars were allowed to reopen with the easing of lockdown restrictions, over two-thirds (64%) of people remained uncertain about returning.
- Four in ten people (41%) claimed they would not go back for the foreseeable future and two in ten (23%) felt hesitant. The main reasons for feeling this way were concerns around social distancing being maintained (53%).
- Those aged between 18-34 who stated they would not or would be hesitant about returning to pubs and bars for the foreseeable future were feeling the financial benefits, with 21% saving money as a result.