Consumers are choosing low and no alcohol products all year round, according to new research.

An online survey by YouGov, commissioned by industry watchdog the Portman Group, found that 32% of UK drinkers now “semi-regularly” consume low and no abv products. The 2021 figure marks a 7% increase on 2020.

The new study also found that a fifth (20%) of those who have tried low and no alcohol say they are more likely to drink these products now, compared to a year ago – almost double 2020’s figure (11%).

The most popular reason (33%) to drink these products continues to be “being able to drive home from social events”. Reducing the possibility of health concerns or current medical reasons were also cited by 22% of consumers. The other main reason was to socialise without drinking excessively (20%), while 12% stated they currently alternate low and no products with regular strength alcohol to moderate overall consumption.

According to the Portman Group, alcohol drinkers are the main buyers of non-alcoholic products, using them as alternatives to alcohol. Over half (58%) of non-drinkers have never even tried a low/no product and 14% are “semi-regular” consumers.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, said: “As these positive findings show, there has been a big increase in drinking low and no during the pandemic, indicating that many UK drinkers have looked to moderate their alcohol consumption by swapping with non-alcoholic options. These figures show the fruits of large industry innovation and investment into the sector over the past decade to provide consumers with an array of lower alcohol options.”

The 2021 survey was conducted in mid-December and involved a total sample size of 2,079 adults.