Fizzing Amazing Festive Facts

With the holidays almost here, we are sure that many of us will be hoping the Christmas break brings with it enough time for colleagues to forget the questionable dance moves displayed at the office party, after one too many mulled wines.

Christmas festivities are only days away for most with the school nativity play and carol service already endured and the turkey ordered, the ‘cheat day’ everyone has been waiting all year for is just around the corner. Christmas is a time of year to eat, drink and be merry in excess – all guilt free! And in the UK we most definitely take full advantage of this opportunity with Britons recorded as drinking 41% more than the annual monthly average during the month of December; this equates to 600 million units of alcohol.

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Brits make 165 million trips to bars, pubs and clubs in December, and spend over £2.31 billion on alcohol in these outlets alone (excluding the far greater amount spent in shops). Last year’s Friday before Christmas saw sales of alcohol rise in Britain’s pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels by 142% (this figure excludes any alcohol sales in shops).


Having said this, since 2011 there has been a noticeable decline in alcohol sales (4.1% drop in off-trade sales between 2011-2012). This decline has been attributed to the recent tough financial times, a conclusion supported by the decline in sales of champagne but increase in sparkling wine sales, evidencing that people are being a bit more cost conscious over the unavoidably expensive festive period.


These reduced sales have sparked what is being referred to as ‘the biggest pre Christmas booze war for years’ as supermarkets slash prices in am attempt to generate increased sales.


Favourite Christmas Tipples?  

Research by Brandwatch Analytics Platform  conducted across the UK and the USA showed that the highest level of conversation on social media focused on that festive favourite Mulled Wine, followed by Eggnog and then Champagne. Surprisingly the UK is yet to embrace Eggnog as a festive drink, despite it originating as a drink for British Aristocrats then travelling across the Atlantic. This chart also demonstrates the rapid growth of Prosecco; this is attributed to the decline in sales of Champagne as people budget more tightly after recent tough economic times, opting for the cheaper alternative. In alignment with this, supermarkets have been slashing prices of sparkling wines by up to 57% to encourage sales. Unfortunately, none of these indulgent beverages come with a low calorie count! A recent survey found that on average a person will put on 4-6lbs between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – largely down to their increased booze consumption.
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Research has found that the first alcoholic drink is consumed by 11:48am on Christmas Day. This is also evidenced in the chart below which shows that people are more likely to talk about low alcohol drinks such as Eggnog in the early hours of the day.

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Here we can see that people are most likely to talk about Christmas drinks around 12 noon with a spike for Prosecco and Champagne around 5pm – must be the time to start celebrating with fizz? Baileys makes an appearance in the later hours of the day, cementing its position as the after dinner drink of choice.


Red, Red, Wine


While our research doesn’t include wine, it clearly plays an important role in the Christmas festivities whether its red, white or mulled with a third of adults naming wine as their favourite festive tipple. One in five of us said in a recent survey that running out of wine ‘would be a bigger disaster than missing the Queen’s speech or not seeing snow’!


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Dry January?

With these figures in mind it is hardly surprising that 1 in 5 of us are tired of drinking alcohol by Christmas eve and 40% feel they need a break from drinking come the end of festivities.

This period of excess over Christmas has led to a trend emerging come January where by many people feel a detox is needed and hence ‘Dry Jan’ has gained significant traction with people supporting each other, particularly over social media, in their efforts to stay sober for January.



© Disruptive Insight 2015.