The data, from leading purchasing company Beacon, also found that drinking less was most prevalent among the over-55s (48%), followed closely by 18-24 year olds (45%).
The biggest influences behind the decline in drinking were the rising cost of alcoholic drinks and health reasons, according to respondents.
Scotland and the south-east are the top regions drinking less than last year, with over half of respondents in Scotland saying their alcohol intake had dramatically reduced. It is thought this could be partly due to Scotland introducing a lower drink-drive limit than the rest of the UK in December 2014.
Out-of-home drinking in decline
Speaking about the data, Beacon MD Paul Connelly said operators needed to “consider different ways of retaining sales”.
“The research highlights the seismic shift sweeping the nation, with people moving away from traditional tipples of the past and reflecting new trends such as healthy (and thriftier!) living,” he said.
“These changing trends are naturally forcing companies and high street businesses to become more savvy and inventive with their drinks offering, and adapt their menus accordingly to survive.
“We predict a continued rise in the importance of non-alcoholic drinks, lower-alcohol alternatives and healthier drink choices as we move into 2018.”
Connelly added: “Also notable was the decrease in out-of-home drinking being most prevalent in Scotland, given the major impact the change in drink drive legislation has had since its introduction, when we found that hospitality businesses in Scotland reported a drop in alcohol sales of as much as 90%.”
Consider more price-led offers
“While it may seem a worrying time for operators, it is important for them to now consider different ways of retaining sales. For example, by expanding their food offerings, extending their range of non-alcoholic beverages or considering more price-led offers and promotions, given that pricing was the number one reason for people drinking less.”
The research was conducted in September 2017 with a sample size of 2,000 people.
Meanwhile, new data from the Marston’s On-Trade Ale Report has revealed just one in three drinkers identify as ‘having a local’, with pub-goers instead preferring to visit a small number of favourite venues.