Meet The Latest Intoxicated Craze, Drunk Shopping

Definitely safer than drunk driving, likely less embarrassing than drunk dialing, a new drunken activity has sprung up, particularly with the widespread connectivity of smartphones. Shopping while under the influence. And it’s a market for brands who thrive on impulse buys.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American media company The Hustle, known for its daily email newsletters for millennials, over $45 billion a year is spent by drunk shoppers. Yes, you read that right – $45 billion. That’s the same as the value of the gold industry in India!

While this was a survey of only 2,174 The Hustle readers who drink alcohol, the results provide an interesting look into this potentially lucrative market for retailers.

Who shops drunk?

Overall, 79% of the survey’s respondents said they had made at least one drunk purchase in the past – 80% of the women and 78% of the men (even if men were the greater sample size). Millennials were more likely to have drunk shopped than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, which makes sense as they are very at ease with online shopping. Unsurprisingly, the higher the person’s income, the more likely they made purchases under the influence.

The top five professions were sports, transport, oil and energy, recruiting, and marketing. Writers, artists, educators, computer engineers, and those working in retail were least likely to shop drunk. Sports professionals are a no-brainer, considering how much beer and alcohol go hand-in-hand with sporting events. And with the time marketers and recruiters spend networking in bars, who wouldn’t expect some drunken purchases to slip in?

How much do they spend?

On average $444 each year is spent by drunk shoppers. Even if Millennials are more likely to drunk shop, it’s the Baby Boomers who spend the most at $550/year. Oh, and remember how we said writers were one of the groups least likely to drunk shop? Well they make up for it by spending much more in a year with $808 going to their drunk shopping “budget.” The highest amount was $949 by people in the fashion industry. Makes sense considering how pricey fashion items are!

Where and what do they buy?

The large majority of drunk shopping is done online – only too easy when you have your smartphone, tablet, or laptop on hand after one too many drinks. And the winner of the most-popular drunk shopping online platform is…Amazon of course! The land of, well, anything and everything pulls in drunk shoppers looking for traditional and bizarre items. Other sites included eBay (drunk bidding?) and Etsy (crafty drunk).

The top items drunkenly purchased are clothing and shoes (66%), movies and games (tie at 47%), various technology (46%), food (36% – we all know drunk cravings are a real thing), and events (34% – Celine Dion front row tickets in Vegas anyone?). Other people veer off and go for some really strange purchases. A bouncy castle, full-size, for your living room? One click with Amazon Prime and you’ll have it the next day. A bayonet from the World War II era? We have a winner! A breast pump? Sure, just what will you be pumping exactly, Mr Smith?

What do they drink before purchasing?

Drunk shoppers consumed hard liquor (whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, rum) most often, followed by beer and then wine. Most beer drinkers were men and wine drinkers women with liquor split depending on the types. Those who drink more alcoholic beverages per week also shop drunk more often. The survey additionally noted which US states spent the most a year on drunk purchases. Kentucky, home of the famous smooth-drinking bourbon, was at the top with over $700 a year in spending. Neighbouring Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida were high up too. Also high on the list? California, aka wine country.

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Any remorse?

Surely people must feel regret for their drunken shopping purchases of items they wouldn’t even think of buying in their right state of mind? Not so much actually. Only 6% of respondents said they regretted their purchases and 20% returned them. For many people the humour of the situation and the story they get to tell their mates the next time they’re together is worth the money they paid.

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