Raising the Bar: A marketer’s guide to an evolving sober-ish community

May 19, 2022

The future is sober-ish.

At a global market value of nearly $10B, the non-alcoholic and low-alcohol (NoLo) market is growing rapidly. And while many alcohol-based delivery apps noted surges in the year-one Spring of COVID-19, conversation volume around sobriety and alcohol reduction nearly tripled (+270%) between March 2020 and March 2022 (Netbase, 2022). The category might soon implode as people approach drinking with more mindfulness and moderation, leading us to wonder what a sober-ish future might look like.

Our survey of 1,200+ adults 21+ revealed that 2 in 3 are what we’re calling Practically Sober – some, but not all are fully sober, and many are changing behaviors for practical and purposeful reasons. Within this group, one segment is changing the alcohol beverage category entirely: people who have reduced or quit drinking alcohol within the past two years. These New Reducers make up 15% of adults 21+, and the majority are under the age of 35. We project this shift in behavior will have direct implications on the future of the alcohol market, with a potential loss of between $1B and $5B annually, as this age group makes up a critical buyer segment. 

We uncovered five key drivers steering people’s changing relationships with alcohol:

  • The pandemic limited traditional socializing for those entering early adulthood
  • Self-care is mainstreaming as essential care
  • Constant chaos drives people to take control
  • Unconventional remedies are redefining sobriety

Click ‘Download PDF’ below to access the full report.

Other Popular Stories

Spotlight on Spotify

In this report, Horizon Media sheds light on brand and media implications surrounding the recent Spotify and Joe Rogan controversy.

Ads Go Artificial: Are AI Image-Generators Creative Competitors?

AI-generated imagery is beginning to match man-made work, but still requires human creativity.

Anywhere but Here: Gen Z Copes Through Escapism

Gen Z is using pre-Internet nostalgia and horror genre entertainment to flee present stresses.