Dangerous practices of on-demand alcohol delivery companies place Victorian children and vulnerable people at risk of harm
In May 2021 Alcohol Change Vic asked over 1,000 users of on-demand alcohol delivery services (on-demand services) about their alcohol consumption and their experiences using these services. To be included in the survey, participants had to have used a service that delivers alcohol products to homes within two hours, excluding Airtasker and food delivery services.
- Very risky drinking = people who drink 11+ standard alcoholic drinks in one sitting weekly, or more often
- Weekly service users = people who use on-demand alcohol delivery services weekly, or more often
- Regularly = half of the time, most of the time or every time.
People who use on-demand services are more likely to report very risky drinking
- Almost two-thirds (61%) of Victorians who use on demand services report consuming 11 or more standard drinks in a sitting at least once a year.
- 1 in 5 (18%) are very risky drinkers, consuming 11 or more standard drinks in a single sitting weekly or more frequently.
Very risky drinking is more likely the more often on-demand services are used
- 1 in 4 (24%) users have on-demand alcohol products delivered weekly or more often, 1 in 3 (37%) receive deliveries at least monthly and 39% do so less frequently.
- 51% of weekly users reported very risky drinking, compared to 11% of monthly users and 5% of less frequent users.
People who use on-demand services report high levels of alcohol harm
- Almost half (46%) of users reported being unable to remember what had occurred while drinking at least once in the last 12 months.
- Three-quarters (74%) of weekly users reported memory loss from consuming alcohol, compared to 31% of less frequent users.
- 45% of users who experienced memory loss from drinking reported that this regularly occurred after drinking alcohol sourced from on-demand services.
Harm to others
- One in three (34%) users had either experienced fear, verbal abuse or physical abuse due to someone affected by alcohol at least once in the last 12 months.
- Half (53%) of weekly users reported fear, or experiences of verbal or physical abuse by someone affected by alcohol compared to 28% of less frequent users.
- 30% of users who had experienced fear, verbal or physical abuse due to another person believed that they had been consuming alcohol from an on-demand service.
Went to work alcohol affected
- One in six (15%) users were under the influence or directly affected by alcohol when they attended work at least once during the last 12 months. This was as high as 37% of weekly users.
- 61% of users who attended work under the influence or directly affected by alcohol reported that they had been consuming alcohol sourced from an on-demand service.
- 1 in 10 (9%) reported injuring themselves or others at least once in the last 12 months due to alcohol consumption.
Responsible service of alcohol compliance
Serving to intoxicated people
- 1 in 4 (28%) users reported they were regularly intoxicated when they received their orders. This was true for half (57%) of weekly users of these services.
- Three-quarters (76%) of people who had received orders while intoxicated reported
that they were not refused service. 61% of weekly users who had received orders while intoxicated were not refused service.
ID checks on delivery
- One in three (35%) users reported that on occasions when they had received deliveries from on-demand services over the past 12 months, no one checked their ID.
- 14% of users were not there when their alcohol was delivered and had someone else collect it on their behalf.
- 6% of users reported they were not present and had their orders left unattended.
- Overall, half (52%) of all users reported they had personally received their order and had their ID checked. This was higher for users aged 18-24 (71%).
- This also highlights that a quarter (24%) of 18-24 year olds either weren’t checked for ID or didn’t personally receive their order.
Contribution of on-demand services to alcohol consumption
- Almost half (45%) of users reported that they regularly would have had to stop drinking if the on-demand service was not available. This was also true for 59% of weekly users.
- 1 in 4 (24%) strongly agreed/agreed with the statement ‘I often drink more alcohol than I intend to when I use on-demand alcohol home delivery services’. Half (51%) of weekly agreed with the statement.
Safeguards to prevent minors from accessing alcohol from on-demand services
A majority of on-demand users agreed that minors could access alcohol from on-demand services and were concerned about this:
- 69% strongly agreed/agreed with the statement online sales and home delivery of alcohol provides an opportunity for underage young people to access alcohol
- 63% were very concerned/concerned about young people under 18 accessing alcohol deliveries that have been left unattended
There was strong support for measures to prevent minors from accessing alcohol from on-demand services:
- 86% strongly agreed/agreed that people should have to provide proof of age when purchasing alcohol products online.
- 89% strongly agreed/agreed that ID checks on delivery should be mandatory to ensure that minors are not able to access alcohol
About the survey
The survey was conducted for two weeks in May 2021 using an accredited research panel. Responses were collected from 1,011 Victorians who had used on-demand alcohol delivery services at least once in the previous year.
This research complements a survey of on-demand users conducted in May 2020 by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). While both surveys show high rates of very risky drinking and alcohol harm, the results cannot be used to infer either an increase or decrease in particular patterns of on-demand service use, alcohol consumption and harm.