The Alcohol Research and Education Foundation (FARE) and Berry Street are calling on governments to protect families and children from the harms of selling and delivering alcohol online.
A new report from FARE has revealed that children are at risk because alcohol retailers in Australia are not required to verify proof of age identification when selling alcoholic products online.
Examining the controls put in place online to prevent the sale of alcoholic products to children, the report found that none of the online alcohol retailers examined used point-of-sale age verification to confirm the ‘age.
The need for action on the part of governments comes as the report also found that 2020 saw the total number of visits to the website of online alcohol retailers rise to 148 million, an increase of 37 million ( 34%) of website traffic compared to 2019. The four largest online alcohol retailers were visited approximately 134 million times in 2020. The growth between 2019 and 2020 is more than three times the growth in traffic of the website observed between 2018 and 2019.
FARE CEO Ms Caterina Giorgi said there has been rapid growth in online alcohol sales in Australia and it is important to fill the gaps to help keep families and communities healthy health.
âThe checks and balances that we as a community expect to ensure that alcoholic products are not sold to children are not there when alcohol is sold online,â Ms. Giorgi said.
“For most of Australia, there are no measures in place to ensure that liquor companies verify the age of people when they buy alcoholic products online.”
Michael Perusco, CEO of Victoria’s largest child and family service provider, Berry Street, agrees that more needs to be done to ensure young people don’t have such easy access to alcohol.
âAt Berry Street, we support and care for some of the most vulnerable children and youth in our community, including those who cannot live safely with their families,â said Mr. Perusco.
âFor too many people, alcohol seems like an easy escape. But that only adds to the complexities and challenges they face as they seek to recover from their trauma.
âThe ability to shop online has made it more difficult to protect young people from buying alcohol. Governments must do more to ensure that alcoholic products cannot be sold to children, âMr. Perusco said.
Ms Giorgi said there are digital age verification solutions that alcohol retailers could implement.
“Governments have the opportunity to ensure that we do all we can to keep families and communities safe by introducing common sense measures, including requiring age verification when alcohol is sold in line, âMs. Giorgi said.
- In 2020, the total number of website visits increased to 148 million, including 134 million visits to the four largest online retailers, Dan Murphy’s and BWS, owned by Endeavor Group, and Liquorland and First Choice, owned by Coles.
- Overall, reviewed websites saw a significant increase in traffic from 2019 to 2020. In 2020, reviewed websites saw an estimated increase of 34% or 37 million more website visits compared to 2019. This is more than triple the growth in website traffic seen between 2018 and 2019.
- Almost all websites saw greater than 20 percent visitor growth from 2019 to 2020. For most websites (7 out of 9), this growth greatly exceeded their previous growth rate for 2018 to 2019. Growth particularly high was observed by Dan Murphy’s with 39 percent growth in 2020 (22 million additional views) and Boozebud with 94.7% growth (2 million additional views)
- Online alcohol retailers include a range of businesses that sell packaged alcohol products to people on the Internet.
- Online liquor retailer revenues have grown at an average annual rate of 19.1% since 2016, bringing revenues to $ 1.8 billion expected in 2021.
- Endeavor Group is the largest online alcohol retailer, accounting for 47 percent of online alcohol retail sales in Australia and Coles Group, the country’s second largest online retailer, has the second largest share with 13 , 8 percent.
- Online alcohol retail revenue grew 22% in 2020, surpassing previous growth rates. IBISWorld expects this record growth to continue in 2021, with growth of 27%.