In 2019, households spent EUR 117 billion, 0.8 pc of the European Union’s GDP, on alcoholic beverages in the EU. And this sum does not include the alcohol consumed in bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.
According to 444, a Eurostat survey concluded that an average EU household spent 1.6 pc of its expenditure on alcoholic beverages. However, there are significant differences between the member states.
In Hungary, for example, this number is 2.9 pc, almost as high as in Finland or Croatia. As a result,
Hungarian households spent the sixth-highest amount on alcohol in the EU.
Interestingly, Latvians and Estonians are in the first and second places. Their households spend almost five pc on alcohol, which is three times as much as the European average. Moreover, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Croatia preceded Hungary on the list. Furthermore, this rate is the lowest in Greece and Italy, with less than one pc. Of course, that does not mean that people in the Baltic states drink that much while Italians and Greeks do not. The data probably shows that the latter prefer to drink alcoholic beverages in bars, restaurants, cafés etc. Since Eurostat’s survey is from 2019, when there was no epidemic, it makes sense.
Interestingly, in Latvia and Lithuania, the amount spent on alcohol decreased in the last ten years. In 2009, for example, the numbers were 5.5 and 6.3 pc of the household expenditure in the case of these two countries.
In Romania, however, consumption increased the most in Europe in the last ten years.
In 2009, the households spent only 2.1 pc of their revenues on alcohol, but this rate grew to 2.6 pc by 2019.
As we reported before, there is some uncertainty about exactly how many alcoholics there are in Hungary. The figure of 380,000 provided by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office is severely underestimated. Domestic experts report more than double or even triple this figure. A few years ago,
the WHO estimated the number of alcoholics in Hungary to be over 900,000.
More than one-third of adult men in Hungary consume alcohol in a harmful way, Index reports. It is a serious nationwide problem. Still, drinking is common, and it seems to be an Eastern European ‘virtue’ to get drunk. It seems that our culture is more forgiving to people drinking 3-4 glasses of their own wine every day. This can contribute to the fact that 90% of addicts never recognise their alcohol problem. According to the WHO, men on average drink about three times as much as women. However, recent qualitative research shows that Hungarian women drink more and more; especially the younger generation and those over 60 are at risk.
How much and what do Hungarians drink?
By far, most of the alcohol purchased in stores is consumed in the form of beer. In second place are vodka and bitters, followed by pálinka. By June 2019, we bought 1.5% more pure alcohol than the previous 12 months. In terms of value, however, we spent almost 9% more on alcoholic beverages, which is significant.