Shopping under the influence: Woozy shoppers spend billions via e-commerce

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My first drunk shopping article was published on January 21, 2020 – so, in The Before Times. If, like me, you might be the sort who uses dark humor as a coping mechanism, then you can appreciate what a bright spot the thought of writing the 2020 statistics regarding shopping under the influence was.

$45 BILLION for e-commerce in 2019? I could only imagine what the 2020 data would show – was there even a word for that sort of massive growth?

It went something like this in my head:

2019: $45 BILLION for e-commerce. I am all powerful, omnipotent, unconquerable.

2020: Hold my beer.

Except, it seems, y’all are reticent to tell the darn truth.

 🎼 Truth hurts 🎼: Which is probably why folks are clearly lying about purchases made while shopping under the influence

Finder, the amazing people who thought up this excellent survey in the first place, said the following in their article with the long-awaited 2020 drunk shopping stats: “The percentage of Americans that admitted to buying under the influence has slowly decreased each year from 26.4% in 2019 to 21.4% in our most recent survey.”

The woozy shopper spent an average of $423.73 on drunk purchases in 2020, compared to $768.58 in 2019. Supposedly, Americans spent $21.6 billion while shopping under the influence in 2020, down 51.80% from 2019’s $44.9 billion.

We’ve all been on enough Zooms, Teams, Skypes, Google Hangouts, all-hands, and email threads to know that day drinking was all the rage for at least some months during 2020.

So, in the name of science and journalism, I decided to conduct my own poll on LinkedIn:

More than 10 people messaged me to say they were worried about voting on it, but had stories to tell.

Since I believe that taking your whole self to work requires authenticity and honesty, I’m sharing a couple of purchases that were made while shopping under the influence in our household last year.

First, while researching for my initial drunk shopping article, a childhood dream came true: They really do sell *just* the marshmallows from Lucky Charms.

The 2020 post went live January 21, 2020 – please note the purchase date of possibly the most shameful item I’ve ever paid for:

My husband and I made a pact that we’d forget this existed – a pandemic with two adults working from home, two teens going to school from home, and a bag of sugar doesn’t equate to being the best of humans; rather it equates to the opposite.

The Lucky Charms Purchase-That-Must-Not-Be-Named was nothing compared to the day my hubby asked me if I was on mute while on a call… so I could explain the “forest from the internet” that appeared to be on our porch. In my defense, our Internet Forest ™ looks amazing:

With the lights out, it’s more dangerous: On average, Gen X was the generation that spent the most while drunk shopping

The generation that’s always forgotten quietly spent the most while shopping under the influence: Generation X spent an average of $521.57 versus $797.49 in 2019. Millennials spent an average of $475.75, and Boomers lollygagged into last place, spending $274.62 while drunk shopping.

Retailers: Want in on some of those wonderful, woozy sprees?

Despite the total dollars spent while drunk shopping (supposedly) declining year over year, tipsy consumers are still throwing around big bucks after kicking back a few of their alcoholic faves.

It’s typically with Amazon, and it’s no wonder why: the e-commerce giant serves up a potent cocktail of convenience, making purchases easy to accomplish.

Simplicity makes it easier for the sotted to buy while under the influence, so retailers must be mindful of the journey consumers are taking while on their site – and how they get there.

Social commerce is becoming a big player in the retail game, and feeds are wonderful places for ads compelling drunken dynamos to click and make purchases they otherwise might not – but only if your site keeps things simple.

Top elements of user-friendly e-commerce sites:

  1. Mobile-friendly is a must
  2. Consider direct to consumer channels
  3. Allow one-click payments like Apple Pay, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo
  4. Don’t force people to sign up to purchase, and be sure to allow guest checkouts
  5. Make it easy to save items to come back to (i.e. items you might not purchase while sober)
  6. Simple UX
  7. Compelling content descriptions
  8. Stellar images that make folks want to click
  9. Show customer reviews

Drunk purchases for the win: Raise our glasses to these heroic people among us

This Reddit thread offers side-splitting recounts of the best drunk shopping purchases. Here’s a few:

But really: must they?

Bless this couple doing their best to support the economy:

Amazon + flying kittens FTW!

Honestly, who among us hasn’t purchased 100 hats for their… toad?

Accidentally bought my toad 100 top hats instead of one while I was drunk online shopping… from funny

I think they meant “majestic” pug.

Went online-shopping while drunk… Now I own a jurassic-pug

Don’t just believe in the exceptional –
create the exceptional.
Fast, flexible, mobile-first e-commerce is just a few clicks away.

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Jenn Vande Zande

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