According to statistics, it’s believed that alcohol is not as popular as it used to be, with Gen Z individuals reported to drink an estimated 20% less than their Millennial counterparts. In addition, CivicScience data has shown that interest in a sober lifestyle has grown, while nearly 1-in-3 adults who drink might change their habits due to research about the effects of alcohol.

Yet does this translate to Dry January, and are more people considering participating in this month-long abstaining activity in 2024?  The CivicScience InsightStore™ has the latest on Dry January trends, statistics and expectations.

Dry January Participation Is Up

How many more Americans are making the leap and abstaining from all alcohol in 2024 compared to 2023? 

Data showed 24% of U.S. survey respondents (aged 21+) were highly likely to participate in “Dry January” in 2023 (not specific to the official Dry January program from Alcohol Change UK and Meharry Medical College), with 58% not planning on forgoing alcohol.

Intended participation is up this year. In comparison, 27% of people who drink alcohol are ‘very likely’ to put a cork in their drinking habits during Dry January in 2024, while 51% will be drinking as usual. 

Take Our Poll: Would you rather participate in “Dry January” or “No Shave November”?

Dry January Is Still a Young Person’s Game

Confirming recent studies into the topic, CivicScience data show that 75% of Gen Z adults aged 21-24 are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to participate in Dry January – the largest age demographic to do so. 

To the shock of very few people, adults 55 and older are the least likely to participate – however, additional data has shown this age group is also the least likely to drink alcohol at all.

Additionally, women (57%) are somewhat more likely to be involved in Dry January than men (42%), and parents (55%) are more likely to forego drinking in January 2024 than non-parents (47%). 

But, Participants Aren’t Who You’d Expect

According to the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States comes in 35th in alcoholic beverage consumption rankings. As one of the countries to consume the most alcohol globally, it’s unsurprising that CivicScience data show 15% of Americans aged 21 and up drink more than five drinks weekly, with an additional 33% consuming between one and five drinks in an average week. Fifty-two percent of Americans ‘rarely or never’ drink alcohol.

Surprisingly, 46% of Dry January intenders say they drink ‘rarely,’ while 41% drink between one to five alcoholic beverages weekly. Those who drink more are far more likely not to participate in Dry January, indicating light or occasional drinkers are more likely to commit to a Dry January challenge. 

Dry January Could Drive Non-Alcoholic Beverage Interest

Recent studies have shown a growing interest in low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages like mocktails and non-alcoholic beer. However, CivicScience data find only 9% of participants are genuinely interested in trying non-alcoholic drinks, with the vast majority – 70% – not interested at all in these drinks. 

Will Dry January participants replace alcohol with NA beverages? Of those who plan to follow Dry January in 2024, about 24% are ‘very interested’ in mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks, and an additional 32% are ‘somewhat interested’ – suggesting there may be a place at the table for these beverages among this crowd.

Additional Dry January Insights from the CivicScience InsightStore™:

  • In 2023, 21% of Dry January participants were planning to use cannabis in lieu of alcohol during Dry January. Recent data show 15% of expected 2024 participants use cannabis daily, while another 31% use it on occasion – higher rates than those not planning to participate this year (12% and 24%, respectively).
  • Social media undoubtedly plays a big role in promoting Dry January: 73% of TikTok users are interested in giving drinking a break during January 2024, while only 37% of those who don’t use TikTok are interested in doing the same. 
  • Dry January may also represent a push for mental health and wellness. About two-thirds of 2024 participants report experiencing moderate to strong feelings of stress on a weekly basis.
  • Black Americans are the most receptive to participating in Dry January in 2024. Roughly 70% of Black Americans are ‘somewhat’ to ‘very likely’ to participate in Dry January, compared to around 60% of Hispanic Americans and 45% of White Americans.

Join the Conversation: Do you think Dry January is effective?

The data indicate that interest in Dry January has grown as a trend, as more Americans are considering participating in 2024, with the younger generations more keen on the idea than older adults. How is that likely to impact the alcohol industry? Get in touch to learn how CivicScience solutions can help your brand stay ahead of the curve in 2024.