St. Patrick’s Day — the one day a year everyone pretends like they don’t really drink that much all year long. Naturally, where there’s alcohol, there’s bound to be bad decisions, and while friends should already know not to let friends drive drunk, much fewer know about the dangers of letting a friend shop online after he’s had a few too many brews.
Millions of Americans wake up the day after St. Patrick’s Day to an inbox full of receipts for purchases made under the influence, and a survey from finder.com found just how much tipsy consumers spend and what their muddled minds want when two sheets to the wind. According to responses from more than 3,000 shoppers who confessed to “clicking while drunk,” the average inebriated shopping session runs a tab of around $139. However, this amount can vary based on the age and sex of the consumer in question (as well, presumably, as the amount of alcohol imbibed). For example, men spend about four times ($233 per binge) more than women ($54), and millennials spend 75 percent more than Generation Xers and 40 percent more than Baby Boomers.
What are these skunked shoppers buying? Again, purchases are split along gender lines. Women buy shoes and clothes (8 percent), cigarettes (5 percent), online gambling credits (4 percent) and entertainment media (3 percent); men skip straight to gambling (9 percent), then move onto cigarettes (8 percent), apparel (6 percent) and electronics (5 percent).
And just where are these plastered purchases happening? Finder says Idaho, which leads the nation in weekly alcohol purchases at $54 per person per week, though Alabama, Rhode Island, Arizona and Iowa weren’t far behind.
Inebriated impulse shoppers are certainly no crucible of economic activity, but that argument could apply to St. Patrick’s Day-related purchases as a whole. According to WalletHub, consumers will spend a collective $4.6 billion at the nation’s spate of celebrations and official parades, like Boston’s historically drunk parade through Southie or Chicago’s ethnically ambiguous act of dying its rivers green for a few hours. On average, each reveler is expected to spend $36.50, and at a conservative $6 per beer, that would come to about six 16 oz. road sodas — not counting tip and not including pre-game beverages.
Since every demographic group has shown some interest in drunk shopping, with millennials, the most important buying force of the moment, leading that category, it shouldn’t be surprising that some enterprising merchants have taken the initiative to cater and even target this kind of impressionable intoxicated consumer. First, there’s drunkMall, the online marketplace specifically designed to appeal to the lush in everyone. Not only does drunkMall carry the exact kind of esoteric products drunk people love (see: a chessboard with shot glasses instead of pieces, a miniature Iron Throne from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and a T. Rex piñata), but the site is designed to be easily navigable for even the hardest drinkers, with big pictures and short descriptions.
And if that’s too much effort, there’s also the on-hiatus Drunk Shopping app — a personalized service that texts users every Saturday at 2 a.m. with a link to a quirky item on Amazon designed to appeal to the shopper whose sober sensibilities would shut down the purchase of something like a Loch Ness Monster-shaped soup ladle or cufflinks with Paul Walker’s face on them.
There are, of course, worse decisions made on St. Patrick’s Day than waking up to a credit card receipt full of regrets, but if anything, drunk shopping should speak to the incredible level of access retailers have with consumers. All marketers need to do is wait for the most opportune time to make a pitch and, depending on consumers’ emotional state or blood alcohol content, they could have hundreds in drunk profits as opposed to a few measly dollars from sober sales.