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Survey: U.S. consumers spent $14 billion shopping while drunk

Cocktail via shutterstock
Drunk shopping is big business. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Shoppers under the influence appear to have influence on retail sales.

According to new data from the Finder Consumer Confidence Index, 17% of roughly 2,100 surveyed U.S. consumers have made a purchase while under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months, spending roughly $309 each for a total of $14 billion.

The top two drunk shopping categories are shoes, clothes or accessories, and food, with 47% of respondents who have shopped drunk saying they bought items in these categories. Other popular drunk spending categories were alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling, all tied with participation of 34% of eligible respondents.

Motor vehicles come out as the most expensive category at an average spend of $2,038, although it was the lowest-ranked category (besides “other) with 16% of respondents who have shopped drunk in the past year purchasing a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Men and women shop drunk differently

Examining responses by gender, the survey found that roughly one in four male respondents (26%) say they have made a purchase under the influence in the last year, which is 2.5 times the rate of surveyed women (10%). The top drunk shopping option for women are shoes, clothes or accessories (50% of women vs. 46% of men), whereas men are most likely to buy food (47% vs. 15%).

In every category except shoes, clothes or accessories, male respondents were far more likely to have made a drunk purchase than female respondents. Some of the categories with the widest male-female discrepancies include cigarettes (42% vs. 5%), music (29% vs. 4%), furniture (21% vs. 2%), and motor vehicles (20% vs. 2%).

Generational, regional and income differences

The survey also revealed differences in drunk shopping habits by generation, region, and income:

  • Millennial respondents had the highest rate of shopping under the influence (33%), followed by Gen Z (28%), Gen X (8%) and baby boomers (2%).
  • Twenty percent of respondents living in the West have shopped drunk in the past year, followed by South (18%), Northeast (17%), and Midwest (15%).
  • Respondents earning more than $100,000 (26%) are almost twice as likely to drunk shop as those who earn under $100,000 (15%).

Survey: Intoxication helps drive online purchases

A fall 2022 survey of over 1,000 regular online shoppers from personal finance membership group SoFi indicates drunk shopping may be more prevalent in the e-commerce channel. A majority (53%) of respondents admitted they haven’t been sober when making an online purchase. Men were 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.

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