Drunk shopping

Shopping while under the influence has cost Brits an estimated £4.46 billion

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Over the last decade, Brits have been drinking 71 litres of beer per capita per year, which is about 125 beers each per year or 2.4 pints per week. Around 7 in 10 (69%) Brits over 18 drink alcohol once a month or more. But what do we get up to while under the influence? For some people the next morning is often spent trying to forget about our drunken activities, while others will be faced with a hefty bill from their drunken shopping spree.

Our study revealed that over half of us (55.9%), 29.3 million people, carried out spontaneous drunk purchases in 2019. This means that collectively Brits spent £28.7 billion on shopping while under the influence.

The general population’s drunk spending

Unsurprisingly, the most common item to buy was food, with 50.2% of Brits forking out on food while drunk. In fact, last year the average Brit spent £54.20 on food after a few drinks. The least common item to purchase was furniture, as only 15.56% of us chose to spend our hard-earned pounds on sofas and tables while drunk.

Over 1 in 4 (28.48%) or 14.9 million Brits admitted to purchasing clothes, making it the second most popular purchase. While gambling and holidays came in joint third place, as 22.38% (11.7 million) of Brits admitted to spending on these categories last year. The most was spent on holidays, with an average of £155.71 each being forked out by Brits last year.

How much did we spend?

  • Cigarettes: £22.38 per person
  • Food: £54.20 per person
  • Clothes/accessories: £42.76 per person
  • Furniture: £37.94 per person
  • Gambling: £31.43 per person
  • Holiday: £155.71 per person
  • Vehicle: £92.99 per person
  • Pet: £26.88 per person
  • Tech products: £40.05 per person
  • Movies/TV series: £16.81 per person
  • Tickets for events: £25.72 per person

Examples of drunk purchases

Source: Twitter

Gender

58.36% of men and 53.44% of women made drunk purchases in the past year. Men were more likely than women to make drunk purchases across all categories, they also spent more in 10 of the 11. Clothing was the only category when women put down more money than men (£46.35 vs £38.83).

On average men spent £654.56 while drunk. This was £205.74 more than the average for women, which was £448.82.

Check out the bar chart and table below to see how the purchases differ between the genders.

Cigarettes Food Clothes/accessories Furniture Gambling Holiday Vehicle Items for pets Tech products Movies/TV series Tickets for events
Women 15.62% 48.40% 27.84% 13.68% 16.39% 18.72% 13.19% 14.16% 13.97% 17.07% 17.65%
Men 20.55% 51.97% 29.07% 17.57% 28.86% 24.49% 18.74% 20.02% 24.39% 23.54% 22.90%

Difference in drunk spending between generations

It appears gen Z (born after 1996) were the least careful with their money when drunk, with 4 in 5 (80.53%) admitting to this boozy indulgence, compared to only 32.57% of baby boomers (born 1946–1964).

Even though those born after 1996 were the most prone to drunken spending, gen X spent far more than their younger counterparts. The average total cost of gen X’s drunk purchases last year was estimated to be £685.65 while the younger generation were more cost-efficient on their drunk purchases. Almost 3 in 4 (73.43%) millennials admitted to buying food under the influence while only 1 in 4 boomers (25.25%) and 58.08% of gen X confessed to doing the same thing.

Check out the bar chart and table below to see exactly what the generations purchase.

Generation Z Millennials Generation X Baby boomers Silent generation
Cigarettes 24.78% 31.06% 19.92% 6.74% 0.00%
Food 72.57% 73.43% 58.08% 25.25% 16.42%
Clothes/accessories 41.59% 41.83% 31.20% 15.21% 11.94%
Furniture 21.24% 26.75% 15.98% 6.31% 5.97%
Gambling 22.12% 35.55% 28.38% 9.04% 4.48%
Holiday 30.97% 31.42% 22.93% 11.91% 11.94%
Vehicle 19.47% 24.78% 18.05% 7.46% 5.97%
Items for pets 20.35% 26.03% 20.11% 7.89% 5.97%
Tech products 26.55% 31.06% 20.30% 8.18% 7.46%
Movies/TV series 28.32% 33.93% 24.06% 6.74% 1.49%
Tickets for events 25.66% 35.73% 21.43% 7.75% 1.49%

Regional differences

The biggest drunk spenders were located in the North East of England, the average spend there was £751.27. This was £317.11 more than Wales, where average yearly purchases added up to £434.16, making it the region where residents spent the least while tipsy.

The East Midlands had the lowest number of drunk shoppers and only 45.71% of residents there admitted to doing this. Drunk spending is the most common in London, as 66.80% of Londoners say they have indeed been forking out while under the influence.

Region Percentage of drinkers doing drunk shopping
East Anglia 46.07%
East Midlands 45.71%
London 66.80%
North East 63.86%
North West 54.84%
Northern Ireland 50.00%
Scotland 61.18%
South East 51.97%
South West 57.84%
Wales 63.37%
West Midlands 48.24%
Yorkshire and Humberside 61.25%

Our drinking habits

A survey carried out by finder in 2019 revealed the UK’s favourite drink and how much of each type we consume.

Wine appears to be our drink of choice, with an estimate of almost 3 in 5 drinkers (57.99%) consuming at least 1 glass a week (average of 3 glasses a week). The average amount spent on a particular drink type in a week per person is also the highest for wine at £6.08.

Beer comes in second with beer drinkers spending an average of £5.82 per week.

Cocktails get given the boot with an estimate of 39.78% of drinkers having never had this drink before and only 16.84% consuming 1 or more cocktails a week.

Gender

When it comes to beer, men clearly spend more time with a pint in their hand than women. Only 1 in 5 (20.14%) female drinkers have an average of 1 pint of beer a week. On the flip side, women are more likely to enjoy at least 1 glass of wine per week (64.31%) than men (51.89%).

Men are spending over 3 times as much money on beer than women with male beer drinkers admitting to spending an average of £9.25 a week compared to £2.51 a week for women.

Sources

  • This data comes from a survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by finder.com/uk, and carried out by Onepoll in December 2019

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
Head of UK communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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