America’s drunk shopping habit hits $21.6B


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According to Finder’s latest Drunk Shopping survey conducted in September 2020, more than a fifth (21.4%) of Americans admit to shopping under the influence.

 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 average drunk shopper is spending an average of $423.73 on drunk purchases this year, compared to $768.58 last year.

Collectively, Americans spent $21.6 billion on drunk purchases in the past 12 months, down 51.80% from last year’s $44.9 billion.

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Finder’s data is based on an online survey of 1,800 U.S. adults born between 1928 and 2002 commissioned by Finder and conducted by Pureprofile in September 2020. Participants were paid volunteers.

We assume the participants in our survey represent the US population of 254.7 million Americans who are at least 18 years old according to the July 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimate. This assumption is made at the 95% confidence level with a 2.32% margin of error.

The survey asked people whether they made a purchase while under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months and asked them to select the categories they purchased in and the amount they spent. 

Purchase categories were Shoes, clothes, or accessories; Gambling; Cigarettes; DVD, movies, or streaming service; Tech products; Narcotics or other drugs; Music; Artwork, Vacation; Pet; Furniture; Car; Motorbike; Food; and Other. Unlike previous years, we did not include “More alcohol” as a purchase category this year.

Average calculations of the amount spent on drunken purchase were based on only the participants who reported spending in a category — for example, to calculate the average amount spent on food while drunk, respondents who indicated that they have not made any drunk purchases in the past 12 months, and those who responded “0” (meaning they did not make a drunk purchase on food but did make a drunk purchase in another category) were not included.

Our calculations were weighted for age and gender.

To avoid skewing the data, we did not include extreme outliers in our calculations.

We define generations by birth year according to the Pew Research Center’s generational guidelines:

  • Gen Z — 1997-2002
  • Millennials — 1981-1996
  • Gen X — 1965-1980
  • Baby boomers — 1946-1964
  • Silent generation — 1928-1945

We define geographical regions according to the divisions of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Image Credit: CentralITAlliance / iStock.

Boozing by the numbers

  • According to a 2020 survey by Finder, 69.7% of Americans drink at least one alcoholic beverage per week.
  • 69.7% of Americans drink at least one alcoholic beverage per week.
  • On average, American drinkers consume 8 alcoholic drinks per week.
  • The most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage by men is beer, with 63.7% of men drinking at least one beer a week, compared to women who tend to favor wine, with 46.2% of women having at least one glass per week.
  • Millennials and Gen X are consuming the largest amount of alcoholic beverages weekly, both consuming an average of 8.85 drinks per week
  • Americans on average spend the most per glass of wine ($11.86) and the least on a can of beer ($7.57).

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Over a quarter (28.6%) of men admit to drunk shopping, with male drunk shoppers spending an average of $489.54. The top purchase for men under the influence is food (86.3%), followed by cigarettes (69.1%) and gambling (63.9%).

Significantly less women (15.0%) admitted to drunk shopping than men, with female drunk shoppers spending an average of $303.00 on their purchases during the past year. The top drunk purchase among women was food (70.1%), with shoes, clothes or accessories coming in second (55.9%), and cigarettes in a close third (39.4%).

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Where are we drunk shopping?

The West showed the highest percentage of people admitting to drunk shoppers with 25.1% of adults in the West saying they had drunk shopped in the past year, spending and average of $486.52. This was followed by the 22.0% of the people drunk shopping in Northeast, 19.9% in the South and the 19.8% in the Midwest.

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4. Midwest

% of respondents who admitted to drunk shopping: 19.8%

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3. South

% of respondents who admitted to drunk shopping: 19.9%

Image Credit: Poike / iStock.

2. Northeast

% of respondents who admitted to drunk shopping: 22.0%

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1. West

% of respondents who admitted to drunk shopping: 25.1%

Image Credit: Choreograph / iStock.

What are we buying?

For those of you who have ever made a late night call to Domino’s after cracking open a few brewskis, it will come as no surprise that food is our most common drunk purchase. More than 80% (80.6%) of drunk shoppers admit to purchasing food while drunk, followed by apparel including shoes, clothes and accessories at 60.0%, and cigarettes at 58.6%.

When looking at average dollar amount spent, Americans spent the most on gambling ($121.07), followed by car-related purchases ($89.64) and vacations ($84.52). The most popular category, food, had drunk shoppers spending an average of $82.32.

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1. Gambling

  • Everyone: $121.07
  • Men: $108.07
  • Women: $165.09

Image Credit: grinvalds/istockphoto.

2. Car

  • Everyone: $89.64
  • Men: $88.16
  • Women: $101.64

Image Credit: SrdjanPav.

3. Vacation

  • Everyone: $84.52
  • Men: $85.14
  • Women: $81.16

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4. Food

  • Everyone: $82.32
  • Men: $79.73
  • Women: $88.15

Image Credit: Adobe.

5. Shoes, clothes or accessories

  • Everyone: $72.13
  • Men: $62.07
  • Women: $92.68

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6. Narcotics or other drugs

  • Everyone: $69.52
  • Men: $65.82
  • Women: $87.30

Image Credit: Julia Paszkiewicz/istockphoto.

7. Furniture

  • Everyone: $68.66
  • Men: $66.02
  • Women: $83.15

Image Credit: fizkes/iStock.

8. Other

  • Everyone: $60.61
  • Men: $53.97
  • Women: $89.35

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9. Motorbike

  • Everyone: $59.17
  • Men: $61.77
  • Women: $35.80

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10. Tech products

  • Everyone: $58.88
  • Men: $59.04
  • Women: $57.87

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11. Pet

  • Everyone: $50.89
  • Men: $44.29
  • Women: $78.71

Image Credit: Chewy.

12. Cigarettes

  • Everyone: $38.77
  • Men: $39.27
  • Women: $37.15

Image Credit: Mac99/istockphoto.

13. DVD, movies or streaming service

  • Everyone: $34.89
  • Men: $35.57
  • Women: $32.27

Image Credit: wutwhanfoto / iStock.

14. Artwork

  • Everyone: $34.67
  • Men: $33.69
  • Women: $41.10

Image Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/istockphoto.

15. Music

  • Everyone: $34.10
  • Men: $31.01
  • Women: $50.53

Image Credit: Rohapp.

Drunk shopping by generation

On par with last year’s trend, millennials were the generation most prone to drunk shopping (36.5%). Following millennials was Gen Z (29.7%), Gen X (26.5%) and baby boomers (8.0%).

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Average drunken spend by generation

Although drunk shopping was the most prevalent among millennials, Gen X was the generation that actually spent the most on average among drunk shoppers. However, all generations spent less drunk shopping this year compared to last year. Gen X drunk shoppers spent an average of $521.57 compared to last year’s average of $797.49. Following Gen X are millennials ($475.75) and baby boomers ($274.62).

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