Research carried out by GfK NOP and commissioned by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) revealed that 54% of people questioned believe parents should take the primary responsibility for the problem.
Some 26% of respondents singled out the police as being most responsible, with just 9% citing shops and supermarkets as the main culprits.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The most emphatic finding is the sense of parental accountability for underage drinking. This is a message that the government should listen to. More needs to be done to educate parents and bring light to the real issue of proxy purchasing, along with ways of dealing with the problem of violence and abusive behaviour towards shop staff."
Independent retailers welcomed the results. Londis retailer Ramesh Shingadia from Southwater, West Sussex, told Convenience Store: "The government often puts the blame on retailers, but the responsibility has to start at home. We are just one part of the process and I'm glad that the public recognises this."
However, the survey showed that 54% of people felt that retailers could do more to tackle the problem. "Retailers must not be complacent. Our focus has to remain on every store implementing a No ID, No Sale policy, asking everyone who looks under 21 for proof of age, and training staff rigorously," Lowman added.