Last updated: About last night: Drunk shopping drives $45B for e-commerce

About last night: Drunk shopping drives $45B for e-commerce


Drunk shopping is big business for retailers and e-commerce platforms – Americans spend an estimated $45 billion annually clicking “purchase” after clinking glasses.

This is massive money for retailers, leading to some creative ideas around how to harness the power of inebriated adults holding access to any product they could ever want in their hands.

With online purchase hours peaking between 8-9 p.m., savvy retailers are beginning to offer evening sales to entice consumers winding down (or up, if you’re the sort) for the evening.

Though Gen Xers consume alcohol more regularly (whatever, nevermind) than boomers and millennials, it’s the youth who spend the most on drunk shopping – with millennials far outpacing their generational parallels – while actually drinking the least. noted, “Millennials doled out the most on drunk purchases in the past year, averaging $1,047 — more than double that of baby boomers ($466) and Gen Xers ($469).”

79% of adults drinking alcohol are drunk shopping: What are they buying?

So what’s the purchase of choice for drunk shoppers? Well, as you might suspect, food had the most folks admitting to clicking to satisfy cravings, depending on which survey results you’re reading. (On a hunch, I went through my Shipt receipts – turns out the orders I placed…during the evening hours were higher than those I placed in the morning).

After food, here’s where the dollars are thrown about when consumers are under the influence (respondents were allowed to select more than one category):drunk shopping stats(Shoes and clothing (66%), Movies (47%), Games (47%), Tech (46%), Events (34%), Books (30%), Houseware (30%), Travel (30%), Cosmetics (12%))

An interesting shopping trend that cannot be ignored is social selling – the top 500 retailers made over $6.5 billion from social shopping, 40% of businesses use social to drive sales, and 41% of brands on Instagram have used the shoppable posts feature, meaning that retailers can reach consumers who aren’t necessarily planning on spending, but are scrolling social with their guards down – making impulsive purchases more likely.

Woozy wonder: Average spend of intoxicated consumers between $444-736 (!)

Tipsy consumers are spending big numbers annually, and it’s mostly with Amazon.

The e-commerce giant already outpaces online sellers, but mixing the convenience of stored payment info, simplicity of purchase, quick delivery, and liquid courage turns out to be an irresistible cocktail.

Following Amazon for favorite drunk shopping platforms are eBay, Etsy, Target, and WalMart.

Simplicity of the path to purchase should always be at the center of every e-commerce platform, thereby making your site easy to buy from, even when sotted.

Crucial elements of successful e-commerce sites:

  1. Make it mobile-friendly
  2. Simple checkout – allow one-click payments like Apple Pay, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo, and don’t force people to sign up/allow guest checkouts
  3. Make it easy to save items to come back to (i.e. items you might not purchase while sober)
  4. User-friendly navigation
  5. Great content descriptions
  6. Compelling images
  7. Show customer reviews

Fashion, we have a problem: Drunk shopping by profession

People working in the fashion industry love themselves some drunk shopping time, on average spending $949 annually – double the norm.

How does pie-eyed shopping break down by profession? (Let’s just say you might want to think twice when hiring a life coach).

Average amount spent while drunk shopping by professional field:

Fashion: $949
Writing: $808 (probably most of it on research)
Medicine: $718
Fitness: $681
Life coaching: $644

And what sectors spend the least?

Retail: $294
Biotech: $298
Aerospace: $302
Engineering: $311
Government: $325

No regrets (okay, maybe some): Amazing intoxicated purchases

I couldn’t possibly write a post without researching examples of what folks have purchased while under the influence. It’s a fascinating wormhole – one you might want to venture down the next time you’re… about to support the economy after drinking.

Retail doesn’t rest.
A recent survey of digital execs shows where e-commerce is going.
Get the stats + data

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