Cider poised to overtake alcopops, Roy Morgan Research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th June 2014
Cider's popularity in Australia continues to grow
Cider’s popularity in Australia continues to grow

Cider consumption in Australia is set to overtake that of pre-mixed spirits, perhaps within months, according to the latest findings from market research organisation Roy Morgan Research.

A short five years ago, Roy Morgan said 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.

“In what must be good news for cider producers, the last five years have seen cider’s popularity sky-rocket,” said Angela Smith, Group Account Director Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research.

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, Roy Morgan Research found the number of cider drinkers (2,009,000) was just 100,000 short of the number drinking pre-mixed spirits (2,109,000). According to Roy Morgan Research, if the growth trends continue, cider drinkers will outnumber those consuming alcopops by the end of 2014.

The increase popularity of cider in Australia is an ongoing trend. Australian Food News reported that global market research organisation Canadean had found the Australasian cider market was experiencing “perfect storm” conditions.

Cider growth consistent across demographic groups

Cider’s stratospheric growth has been consistent across ages, genders, city dwellers and country folk, according to Roy Morgan Research.

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 per cent to 21.4 per cent— an increase of over 200 per cent. Though the proportion of women aged 35-49 drinking cider was smaller, growth among this group over the same period was more than 250 per cent (from 2.8 per cent to 9.9 per cent).

Pre-mixed spirits consumption declines

The number of people drinking pre-mixed spirits had declined among all age groups, except men aged 50-64, who were more likely to be drinking pre-mixed spirits than they were in 2010.

“But cider’s gain seems to be alcopops’ loss, with the number of people drinking pre-mixed spirits dropping,” Ms Smith said. “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,” she said.

Cider drinkers usually happy to try to new trends

Roy Morgan Research said it found that 24 per cent of a consumer group it called Young and platinum drank cider in any given four weeks, compared to the national average of 11 per cent.

“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,” Ms Smith said.

On the other hand, 25 per cent of the consumer group Roy Morgan Research called ‘Strugglestreet’ drank pre-mixed spirits, more than double the national average of 12 per cent.

“Strugglestreet are characterised by low incomes and trying financial circumstances, which generally prevent them from jumping onto the latest trends — such as cider,” Ms Smith said.