One in five pensioners drinks alcohol at home every day, according to research that highlights a significant growth in excessive drinking among the over-65s.
While public perception focuses on drinking issues among the young, the study by consumer analysts Mintel shows that 18 per cent of over-65s drink at home every day compared with 11 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds.
People aged between 45 and 54 are least likely to be daily drinkers, at just 8 per cent.
More than one in four adults (26 per cent) say they have cut back on how much they drink at home over the past year, while a similar number (25 per cent) say they have cut back on how much they drink outside the home, according to the research.
But while the over-65s are the most frequent daily drinkers, they are also among the least likely to have cut back on how much they drink at home (22 per cent).
Those aged 65 or over are also least likely (19 per cent) to admit that they have cut back on how much they have drunk outside the home. The 45 to 54 age group (29 per cent) are those most likely to have reduced the amount they drink at home.
Jonny Forsyth, Mintel’s global drinks analyst, said: “The public perception is that irresponsible drinking is the domain of younger drinkers, but research simply fails to back this up.
“The current generation of younger drinkers are one of the most sensible generations we have seen, and their attitude to alcohol – and indeed all drugs – is far more conservative than their ‘Baby Boomer’ parents.
“It is clear the 45- to 54-year- old age group are still malleable to health messages, whereas those aged 65 and over tend to have much more ingrained drinking habits. They were brought up to think that drinking everyday in moderation was OK, and many have maintained this behaviour, especially as they retire and have more leisure time on their hands, despite it being to the detriment of their health.”
Overall, almost nine out of ten adults have drunk at home in the past year, marginally higher than the 83 per cent who did so outside the home.
More than half of all adults (57 per cent) drink at home at least once a week, with 41 per cent doing so more than once a week and 12 per cent admitting they drink at home every day. The figure rises to around one in six men (16 per cent) and one in 11 women (9 per cent).
People living in London (20 per cent) are more than twice as likely as those in the north, north-west and Scotland (8 per cent) to drink at home on a daily basis, the research revealed.
However, Mintel found sales of alcohol have fallen almost 3 per cent from 3.9 billion litres in 2009 to 3.8 billion litres in 2014. Mr Forsyth said: “Alcohol consumption in the UK is in decline reflecting considerations such as continued financial pressures and health awareness.
“Initiatives such as the now-abandoned alcohol tax escalator, while raising extra money for the public purse, have pushed up prices at a time when discretionary spending is squeezed.
“Factors such as the weather and high-profile events such as the football World Cup could help to boost spending on alcoholic drinks.”
Wine remains the most popular tipple at home.