If you’ve ever made a somewhat rash online purchase after a couple of drinks then you’re not alone – a new survey says nearly 4 in 5 people who consume alcohol have shopped on the web while intoxicated.
These purchases add up too, with US$444 the average annual spend for a drunk shopper, and a huge US$48.4 billion the estimated windfall for the retail industry – a huge wad of cash online shops might never see if we clicked those check-out buttons more responsibly.
Tech and business newsletter The Hustle surveyed 2,174 of its readers to get these stats. The average respondent was 36 years old, with an income of US$92k per year (twice the US national average), and 79 percent said they had shopped online while drunk.
So what are people buying? Hustle readers confessed to picking up items including a full-sized inflatable bouncy castle (for the living room…), a $2,200 pair of night vision goggles, a World War 2-era bayonet, and 200 pounds of bamboo.
Clothing (including shoes) is the most popular way to spend drunk dollars, with two-thirds of respondents saying they’ve bought from this category. Movies, games, and tech also scored highly, while cosmetics and software ranked the lowest.
Amazon is reaping the benefits of all this inebriated clicking – 85 percent of drunk shopping is done on Amazon, with eBay, Etsy, Target and Walmart making up the rest of the top five.
With 53 percent of the respondents male and 47 percent of the respondents female, the survey showed women are slightly more likely than men to drunk shop – 80 percent versus 78 percent. That matches stats that show women are more likely to shop online in general, although men tend to spend a little more.
Beer is the most common accompaniment to drunk shopping (34 percent of respondents), with wine next (29 percent) and whiskey in third (17 percent).
Those involved in the sports, transport, and energy sectors were more likely to dabble in online purchasing whilst tipsy; writers, artists, educators and computer engineers were shown to be the least likely.
It’s worth pointing out that surveying 2,174 Hustle readers is unlikely to give a scientifically accurate cross-section of the population of the US, let alone the rest of the world – whether that’s in terms of income, time spent online, shopping habits, or whatever else.
Still, it’s an interesting little glimpse into how widespread drunk shopping might be in 2019, at least for those of us with some disposable income and a readily available connection to the web.
We know that a night of drinking can often prompt cravings for salty, unhealthy food – it seems to be something to do with shifting glucose levels – but it looks like a session on the booze can be bad for our bank balances as well.
Let’s not forget the impact on the environment either: buying stuff we don’t really need isn’t a great way to tackle our growing plastic waste problem.
There is some good news for drunk shoppers in the survey: only 6 percent of people reported regretting their intoxicated purchases, and only 20 percent usually end up returning whatever they’ve bought.
“To be honest, they’re almost always stupid buys, but the humour factor outweighs the stupidity,” one survey taker told Hustle. “I guess it’s a privileged way to look at consumption… but how many people can say they own a personalised Chia Pet?”