New research has revealed that 44% of British people are drinking less this year when going out then they did last year.

The research by purchasing company Beacon has found that drinking less was most prevalent amongst the over 55s (48%), followed closely by 18-24 year olds (45%) .

The biggest influences for the decline in drinking were the rising cost of alcoholic drinks and health reasons.

People living in Scotland and the South East are decreasing their drinking the most, with 50.6% in Scotland saying their alcohol intake has dramatically reduced.

Beacon said these figures could be due in part to the lowering of Scotland’s drink-drive limit in December 2014, which is currently set below the rest of the UK.

Paul Connelly, Beacon managing director, said: “The research highlights the seismic shift sweeping the nation with people moving away from traditional tipples of the past and reflecting new trends such as healthy and thriftier living.

“These changing trends are naturally forcing companies and high street businesses to become more savvy and inventive with their drinks offering, and adapt their menus accordingly to survive. We predict a continued rise in the importance of non-alcoholic drinks, lower alcohol alternatives and healthier drink choices as we move into 2018.

“Also notable was the decrease in out-of-home drinking being most prevalent in Scotland, given the major impact that the change in drink drive legislation has had since its introduction, when we found that hospitality businesses in Scotland reported a drop in alcohol sales of as much as 90% .”

“Whilst it may seem a worrying time for operators, it is important for them to now consider different ways of retaining sales. For example, by expanding their food offerings, extending their range of non-alcoholic beverages or considering more price-led offers and promotions, given that pricing was the number one reason for people drinking less.”

Research was conducted in September 2017 by 3GEM Research & Insights, with a respondent group of 2,000 people.