Boozing with the boys – an increasing minority think it’s acceptable

Most people disapprove of heavy drinking sessions, but there’s an increasing minority who think it’s part of life.

The levels of agreement in 1999 and 2019 to the attitude statement “a real man can down several pints of beer at one sitting” in Kantar’s TGI study tell of increasing tolerance towards heavy beer drinking as a proof of machismo.

A clear majority of GB adults reject the notion, although slightly less vehemently today than 20 years ago.  57% disagree now compared to 59% in 1999, although there’s a bigger drop in the percentage disagreeing strongly: that’s down to 38% from 45%.

But the minority who agree has almost doubled in size from 7% to 12%.  The bulk of the growth is among those who agree mildly rather than strongly, but the shift in attitudes is apparent.

Source: Kantar TGI

The change is more striking in some demographic groups than others.  Overall, the index of increase is 183.  The growth is a little higher among men (index 199) than women (index 160), but it’s among age and social grade groups that it’s most pronounced.

ABC1 adults are over twice as likely now to agree with the statement than 20 years ago (index 231) as are 15-34s (index 237) and 35-54s (index 265).  Only for those aged 55+ is agreement lower than it was in 1999.

It seems to be those more likely to evidence the behaviour – males from the professional classes and in the young or mid-range age groups – who are more likely also to be accepting of it.

Source: Kantar TGI

While such an attitude prevails among elements of the population – and certain groups in particular – despite the disapproval of the majority, the minority binge-drinking culture will remain.

Research is vital for organisations seeking to understand consumer behaviour and its long-term implications.  Longitudinal analysis of data such as TGI, including the historical data held within the Archive for Market and Social Research (AMSR), can allow decision-makers to track and assess the impact of societal change.