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Dry January participation dips, survey finds

The amount of consumers planning to partake in Dry January in 2023 fell to 15%, a 4% drop over last year, according to a survey from Morning Consult. Those who are participating in Dry January are more committed to their abstinence, with 7 in 10 saying they plan to take the whole month off from drinking alcohol.

Among those who are participating, health benefits and cost savings were the most commonly cited reasons. This could indicate an interest for some consumers to bid farewell to hard beverages beyond January, as they aim to save money in an uncertain economy.

In January 2022, nearly 1 in 5 consumers planned to abstain from alcohol for the month, a similar Morning Consult survey found. Many cited the surging infection rate of the omicron variant of COVID-19. At the time, more people were prioritizing their health and deciding to stay home, the business research company said.

One factor driving this year’s dip in participation is that millennial consumers are drinking less overall. The generation’s share of alcohol drinkers dropped 7 percentage points between December 2021 and December 2022. The surveys were conducted Jan. 4 and 5, 2022, and Jan. 5 and 6, 2023, among roughly 200 adults ages 21 and over who are participating in Dry January and typically drink alcohol.

Roughly 3 in 10 of those surveyed said that they expect to drink less overall this year than 2022, and 22% said they aim to take a month-long break from drinking at some point.

Participants also indicated that despite their avoidance of alcohol, they largely will not be purchasing nonalcoholic wine, beer or cocktails. Consumers taking part in Dry January are half as likely to purchase these offerings than they were last year, Morning Consult found. This could be because the cost of many nonalcoholic drinks are the same as their alcoholic counterparts, it said.

Still, as more consumers continue to embrace wellness and continue to drink more alcohol at home, their beverage purchasing decisions reflect these changes. “Better-for-you” alcoholic alternatives saw a 20.1% increase in sales from 2021 to 2022, according to IRI data.

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