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Drunk Shopping Is a $48B Industry

Drunk Shopping Is a $48B Industry
Credit: A. and I. Kruk

There are many things you shouldn't do after a boozy night out on the town. You should never drink and drive. You should never take sleep medication. You should never, ever text your ex.

Yet one thing many people seem to do after tying a couple on, according to a new survey by The Hustle, is make online purchases.

Conducted between March 11 and March 18, the survey asked more than 2,100 adults age 21 or older whether they'd ever purchased anything while inebriated. The average respondent, according to The Hustle, was 36 years old with an average income of $92,000. Approximately 53 percent of respondents were male and 47 percent were female.

According to the survey, 79 percent said they had said they'd made at least one purchase while drunk. Women were slightly more likely to do so, with 80 percent saying they'd done so in the past, compared to 78 percent of men.

Analyzing respondents by generation reveals that 82 percent of millennials shop drunk, which is a 13 percent increase above the 69 percent of baby boomers who make drunk purchases.

Along with looking into the demographics of drunk buying, The Hustle also examined respondents' spending habits. After all, how much money people spend and what they spend it on while drunk has been known to lead to some memorable stories.

The average amount that people reported spending while drunk was $444, according to the survey. Men were slightly more freewheeling with their dough, spending $448, while women spent $441 in an average year.

While the sexes were relatively close to how much they spent in a given year, generational divides showed a wider gap in trends. Millennials and Gen X respondents spent an average of $400 and $383, respectively, while baby boomers reported spending $550 a year on boozy buys.

Further divides were found in how much people spend relative to the industry they work in. People who work in the fashion industry reported spending the most money while drunk, spending $949 on average. Other big-spending industries included writing, medicine, fitness and life coaching. People in the retail industry, however, were significantly more careful with their drunken spending habits – they reported spending $294 in an average year.

When breaking the group of respondents down by state, southerners typically spent more while drunk. Kentucky had the highest annual drunk spending bill at $742. Residents of California, Iowa, Connecticut and New Jersey were among the top spenders as well.

With the advent of online shopping, it's no surprise that most respondents – 85 percent – made their drunken purchases on Amazon. Given its potential for very strange items, as well as its ease of use, it's no surprise that the online retail giant tops the list. eBay (21 percent), Etsy (12 percent), Target (nine percent) and Walmart (five percent) round out the list.

The survey also asked respondents to share what they bought, as well as some of their weirdest purchases.

According to the survey, 66 percent of items purchased while drunk fell under the clothing category, which included shoes. Movies and games were tied at 47 percent, and tech was just under those two at 46 percent. Cosmetics and software were the two least purchased categories, at 12 and 7 percent, respectively.

Some of the weirdest purchases made by respondents included "200 pounds of fresh, 10-foot tall bamboo, a World War II-era bayonet ... [and] a splinter that was removed from the foot of former NBA star Olden Polynice."

Despite those odd choices, 94 percent of respondents said they didn't regret the purchases they made, and only 20 percent said they usually return the items they buy while drunk.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a BA in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese-American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.