A short five years ago, cider barely registered as a popular drink, while politicians and lawmakers were loudly voicing their concerns about the level of pre-mixed spirits (‘alcopops’) consumption. Fast forward to 2014 and the latest data from Roy Morgan Research reveals that cider consumption is set to overtake that of pre-mixed spirits, perhaps within months.
In the year to March 2010, nearly 2.4 million Australian adults drank pre-mixed spirits in an average four weeks, while only a quarter of that (596,000) drank cider in the same period.
No doubt influenced by the excise tax increase on pre-mixed spirits in 2008, the number of pre-mixed spirits drinkers has been steadily declining over the last five years as cider (which was not subject to the tax increase) has quietly gained popularity. In the year to March 2014, the number of cider drinkers (2,009,000) was just 100,000 short of the number drinking pre-mixed spirits (2,109,000) — and if the growth trends continue, cider drinkers will outnumber those consuming alcopops by the end of 2014.
Number of Australians consuming Cider and Pre-Mixed Spirits in an average four-week period
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) (Apr 2009 – Mar 2014), average MAT n=19,322. Base: Australians 18+
Cider’s stratospheric growth is consistent across ages, genders, city dwellers and country folk. While there is no doubt that most cider drinkers are aged under 35, the proportional growth in consumption has been similar across all age groups. For example, between 2010 and 2014, the proportion of men aged between 25 and 34 who drank cider in an average four-week period rose from 7.4% to 21.4% — an increase of over 200%. Though the proportion of women aged 35-49 drinking cider was smaller, growth among this group over the same period was more than 250% (from 2.8% to 9.9%).
The number of people drinking pre-mixed spirits has declined among all age groups except men aged 50-64, who are more likely to be drinking pre-mixed spirits than they were in 2010.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“In what must be good news for cider producers, the last five years have seen cider’s popularity sky-rocket. But cider’s gain seems to be alcopops’ loss, with the number of people drinking pre-mixed spirits dropping. A major factor in the trend has almost certainly been the higher taxes on pre-mixed drinks, as well as a steadily increasing range of cider brands on the market.
"Using Roy Morgan’s revolutionary new profiling tool, Helix Personas, we can now understand these trends with unparalleled accuracy.
“For example, in the last two years, cider marketers would be interested to know that24% of individuals in the Young and Platinum persona drank cider in any given four weeks, compared to the national average of 11%. Clued in and cashed-up, Young and Platinum are always happy to try new and different products, so it’s no surprise that this segment has picked up on the cider trend.
“On the other hand, 25% of the Strugglestreet persona drank pre-mixed spirits, more than double the national average of 12%. Strugglestreet are characterised by low incomes and trying financial circumstances, which generally prevent them from jumping onto the latest trends — such as cider.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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