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Survey: Intoxication, social media drive online purchases

Intoxicated shopping is common online (Photo credit: Adam Jaime on Unsplash)

At least one major driver of consumer e-commerce behavior is largely out of retailers’ control.

According to a new survey of over 1,000 regular online shoppers from personal finance membership group SoFi, a majority (53%) of respondents admit they haven’t been sober when making an online purchase. Men are more likely to shop while intoxicated than women, with 60% saying they’d shopped online while not sober, compared to 40% of women who said the same. When looking at age groups, millennials (60%) are most likely to shop while not sober, and boomers (37%) are the least likely to do so.

SoFi analysis of social media posts reveals that Amazon was by far the most mentioned shopping source (83%) in posts about drunk online shopping in which the name of the store was included, while clothing was the most mentioned. Two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents say they have.

Of all the age groups, millennials were the most likely to order something and forget about it, with seven out of 10 millennial respondents saying they have. Boomers were the generational respondents least likely to forget making an online purchase.

Social media is also a significant online purchase driver, with 74% of respondents saying they’ve bought something they have seen on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. In 2017, only 40% of surveyed adults said they’d bought something after seeing it on social media.

Interestingly, men are more likely to make these purchases than women, as 78% of surveyed men said they’ve purchased something they’d seen on social media, compared to 70% of women.

In general, the survey indicates that impulse purchases make up a good amount of total e-commerce volume. More than half (56%) of respondents said that more than half of their online purchases are impulse buys.

Comparing age groups, millennials are the most impulsive online shoppers, with 63% of these respondents saying their online purchases are not planned. But of all surveyed age groups, Gen Z had the highest percentage of respondents who said none of their online purchases are impulse buys (12%). Boomers, at 10%, were a close second.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Thirty-nine percent of respondents are shopping online the same amount since stores reopened, while 37% are shopping online more and 24% are shopping online less.
  • Thirty-seven percent of surveyed women and 29% of surveyed men spend $100 or less online shopping while 25% of men and 17% of women spend $500 or more.
  • Two-thirds of respondents (65%) place three or more orders on Amazon each month. And 16% place more than five Amazon orders every month.
  • The top reasons to regret an online purchase are it looked better on-screen than in real life (26%) and spending too much money (22%).
  • Close to half (48%) of respondents get online grocery deliveries at least once per week. Only 24% get online grocery deliveries less than once per month.

Intoxicated shopping – some sobering figures
Another survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults, from CouponChief, confirms the prevalence of intoxicated shopping. 70% of respondents admitted to making at least one online purchase since the start of the pandemic while drunk or stoned. Men (76%) were more likely to shop online intoxicated than women (46%). Amazon (69%) was more commonly used for online shopping while intoxicated than Walmart, eBay, and Target combined (67%).

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