Purchasing patterns for low price off sales alcohol: evidence from the Expenditure and Food Survey
Effectiveness bank home page. Opens new windowResearch analysis

This entry is our analysis of a study added to the Effectiveness Bank. The original study was not published by Findings; click Title to order a copy. The summary conveys the findings and views expressed in the study. Below is a commentary from Drug and Alcohol Findings.

Links to other documents. Hover over for notes. Click to highlight passage referred to. Unfold extra text Unfold supplementary text
Copy title and link | Comment/query |

Purchasing patterns for low price off sales alcohol: evidence from the Expenditure and Food Survey.

Ludbrook A.
Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, 2010.
Unable to obtain a copy by clicking title? Try this alternative source.

Poor drinkers in the UK consume a relatively high proportion of their alcohol in the form of very cheap products, but wealthier drinkers also drink these; a moderately high minimum price would spread the impact. Findings informed a Home Office assessment of the likely impact of a rise in the price of alcohol in Britain.


Key points summary

• All income groups purchase low price off sales alcohol.
• The relationship between income group and the amount of alcohol purchased at the cheapest price (below 30p a unit) is not straightforward. Although the lowest income group buys more than the highest at this price, there is little difference between the middle income groups and the lowest.
• At prices of 30p to 40p and 40p to 50p, the amount purchased tends to increase with income.
• Middle-to-higher income groups are the main purchasers of alcohol priced between 30p and 50p.
• For individual alcohol types (beer, lager, table wine and spirits), the lowest income groups purchase less than the average number of units below 30p and below 40p.
• Low income households are less likely to purchase off sales alcohol at all.


These data from the Expenditure and Food Survey suggest that the purchasing of low priced alcohol occurs across the income distribution. If anything, middle income groups appear to purchase more of the lower price alcohol. One potential explanation may be that these households have sufficient discretionary income to allow them to take advantage of discounted special offers. This cannot be tested with the data available, however. The tendency for middle and higher income groups to buy more low price alcohol is more noticeable in the price bands at 30p to 40p and 40p to 50p than in the price band below 30p. This may suggest that higher values for a minimum price (40p or 50p rather than 30p) will spread the effect more evenly across income groups.

Findings logo commentary This is one of the reports which informed a UK Home Office assessment published in January 2011 of the likely impact of a rise in the price of alcohol in Britain.

Last revised 09 February 2011

Open Effectiveness Bank home page

Top 10 most closely related documents on this site. For more try a subject or free text search

STUDY 2011 Economic impacts of alcohol pricing policy options in the UK

STUDY 2014 Model-based appraisal of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Wales

STUDY 2016 Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy: Final annual report

STUDY 2012 Relationship between price paid for off-trade alcohol, alcohol consumption and income in England: a cross-sectional survey

STUDY 2010 Policy options for alcohol price regulation: the importance of modelling population heterogeneity

STUDY 2008 Independent review of the effects of alcohol pricing and promotion

REVIEW 2011 The likely impacts of increasing alcohol price: a summary review of the evidence base

STUDY 2009 Model-based appraisal of alcohol minimum pricing and off-licensed trade discount bans in Scotland

STUDY 2014 Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s alcohol strategy. Fourth annual report

STUDY 2014 Potential benefits of minimum unit pricing for alcohol versus a ban on below cost selling in England 2014: modelling study