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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 02:34 GMT 03:34 UK
Stressed Britons 'turn to drink'
Alcohol sales are rising
British people spend more money on alcohol to help them cope with stress than any of their European counterparts, according to a survey.

Record numbers of stressed-out Britons are hitting the bottle to overcome their symptoms, the findings published by market analysts Datamonitor suggest.

The study indicates that stress-related spending on drink in the UK came to almost 21bn in 2001, compared with just over 90bn for the rest of Europe put together.

Researchers used questionnaires to determine how much of the alcohol consumed was bought to alleviate stress.

Pampering products

The survey results portray a Europe populated by uptight individuals, looking for ways to wind down.

Most people's concerns were related to work and commuting, but some were also linked with family and socialising.

To ease the pressure they turned to alcohol, as well as other pampering products.

Profile of a stressed person
Impatient
Makes snap decisions
Wants convenience
Eats out or buys takeaways
Less willing to experiment with new ideas
Sticks to brand names when shopping
Prepared to pay out for ways to relax
Source: Datamonitor

Datamonitor spoke to 500 consumers in seven European countries and found 47% suffered from stress - ranging from mild to extreme.

The survey indicates more people buy alcohol than any other type of product when they want to wind down.

'Set to increase'

After alcohol, comes ready-made meals, hot drinks and personal care items.

Levels of stress-buying across Europe are up from 82bn in 1996 to 96bn last year, discounting inflation rises.

In the UK, 22.8bn was spent on these types of products, more than in France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Datamonitor predict that alcohol sales across Europe will reach 94.8bn by 2006, and 22.3bn in the UK.

Andrew Russell, the report's author, said: "Work and commuting are the two most stressful activities in consumers' lives and both of these are set to increase.

"There will be increased demand for products that offer a more convenient way to achieve mundane tasks, and for products which help consumers to wind down."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Alcohol campaigners say too many of us simply don't know when to stop"
See also:

02 Feb 02 | Business
25 Jun 01 | Health
10 Jun 02 | Health
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