Latvia number one in Europe for household booze spending

While it's sometimes nice to be number one in Europe, this may not be one of those times. Fresh statistics published February 1 by Eurostat are likely to lead to a hangover.

In 2021, households in the European Union spent €128 billion (equivalent to 0.9% of EU GDP) on alcoholic beverages. This represents 1.8% of their total consumption expenditure, the same percentage share as in 2020. 

Household expenditure on alcoholic beverages, 2021

However, in Latvia the rate is several times higher than the EU average. Latvians spent €951 million on booze in 2021, equivalent to 2.8% of GDP. That represents 5.0% of total consumption expenditure, making it proportionally the country where households spend more on alcohol than anywhere else in the EU.

The next highest shares of total consumption expenditure on alcoholic beverages in 2021 were registered in Estonia (4.7%), Poland (3.7%), Lithuania and Czechia (both 3.6%). On the contrary, the lowest shares were in Greece and Italy (both 1.0%), the Netherlands (1.3%) and Spain (1.4%).

While Latvia's spending on liquor still comfortably outstrips even its hard-drinking Baltic peers, the figure for the share of total household expenditure on alcohol was actually lower by -0.4% than 2020's figure – a sobering statistic.

Household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages, 2021

Turning away from the hard stuff, in 2021 households in the EU spent over €1.035bn (equivalent to 7.1% of total EU GDP) on food and non-alcoholic beverages. This represents a share of 14.3% of total household expenditure. Compared with 2020 (14.8% share), this represents a decrease of 0.5 percentage points.

The highest shares for 'Food and non-alcoholic beverages’ expenditure in 2021 were registered in Romania (24.8%), Lithuania (20.4%), Bulgaria (20.1%), Estonia (19.9%), Poland and Slovakia (both 19.6%). Here, Latvia's consumption figures are slightly more modest at 10.5% of GDP, or 18.5% of total consumption expenditure.


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