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Consumption Report 2010: Swedes' alcohol consumption is falling

Despite the fact that the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly's sales are rising and statistics from Statistics Sweden indicate that we drink more and more alcohol, the trend is going in the opposite direction – Swedes' alcohol consumption is falling. This emerges from the Consumption Report 2010 (Konsumtionsrapporten 2010) published by the Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg.

Swedes drink less and less alcohol while at the same time the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly's sales are rising and statistics from Statistics Sweden show that alcohol consumption is on the increase. This has been the trend for a long period of time.

Statistics from the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, SoRAD, show that alcohol consumption fell continuously in the period from 2004 to 2009, whereas the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly's sales rose by 22% over the same period. The Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly's sales rose by 10% from 2008 to 2009, whereas statistics from SoRAD show that, over the same period, Swedes' consumption of alcohol fell. How is this possible?

According to Mats Ramstedt, a researcher at SoRAD, it is due to the fact that Swedes consume less and less alcohol from abroad. SoRAD has also included purchases abroad through legal imports, internet orders and smuggled spirits in its statistics.

"In order to get a true picture of how much alcohol Swedish people drink it is important to take the whole alcohol market into consideration", says Mats Ramstedt, docent at the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs at Stockholm University.

SoRAD's research takes into account both legal and illegal imports and internet purchases. SoRAD interviews 18,000 people a year on their alcohol consumption, while Statistics Sweden, for example, carries out research involving around 2,000 people to establish Hushållens utgifter (HUT) [Household Expenditure], which includes alcoholic beverages as an area of consumption.

More in the Consumption Report 2010

- The Consumption Report 2010 is based on statistics from 2009 and includes comparisons with 2008 and 1999 to provide a view of developments over time. The Consumption Report 2010 is compiled by John Magnus Roos, PhD.

- The areas of consumption that have seen sharp rises compared to 2008 are: health and hospital services – 6%, alcohol and tobacco – 5%, and purchases by non-resident households in Sweden – 5%.

- The areas of consumption that saw the largest rises between 1999 and 2009 are: communication services – 132 %, purchases by non-resident households in Sweden – 104 %, furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house – 76 %, leisure time and culture – 66%, and clothing and footwear – 53%.

- The area of consumption that has seen the largest fall since 2008 is Swedish households' purchases abroad – 14%.

- Besides alcohol consumption, the Consumption Report 2010 contains analyses on the rise in Swedish households' expenditure on electricity and consumables.

Link to the full text of the document:
Konsumtionsrapporten 2010 (pdf)
For more information:
John Magnus Roos
+46 (0)31 7865 829
or +46 (0)76 086 5262,
Mats Ramstedt - questions concerning alcohol consumption
+46 (0)70 2669 624,
Malin Tengblad (public relations officer at CFK)
+46 (0)31 7864 372
or +46(0)73 9292 889,
Concerning the Consumption Report:
The Consumption Report is published annually by the Centrum för konsumtionsvetenskap (CFK) [Centre for Consumer Science]. It provides an overview of private consumption in Sweden. The report presents a summary of official statistics on households' expenditure and more detailed analyses by researchers with which the CFK collaborates.

Helena Aaberg | idw
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