Drunk Shopping? 7 Things People Buy at 3 a.m.

person with a credit card using a laptop

Shopping while you’re drinking can lead to many strange purchases | Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The mystery package at your doorstep is the first clue. You don’t remember ordering anything from Amazon, but here’s a box containing 11 pounds of cheese, a dinosaur costume for your dog, or a life-size cardboard cutout of Nicolas Cage. Then the realization hits: You were drunk shopping again.

Our late-night shopping habits have become a source of mingled shame and hilarity now that technology makes it possible to buy virtually anything you want at any time online. Twenty-nine percent of people have shopped online between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., according to data from ShopRunner, which analyzed when its members were clicking to buy. Shoppers in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh were most likely to make online purchases in the wee hours, while only 11% of people in Denver and 18% of people in Phoenix were scoping out online deals after midnight.

A separate analysis of shopping data from e-commerce site Lyst and Racked revealed people were more likely to order things online on Friday nights than on Monday nights, and that people spent 30% more on weekend purchases. It’s impossible to say what’s driving those shopping binges, but the timing suggests at least some orders are fueled by a few glasses of wine.

In other cases, late-night shopping may be more a matter of convenience than intoxication. ShopRunner found that people were more likely to purchase essentials for themselves and their kids late at night, such as health care products and children’s clothes. Busy shoppers who don’t have time to hit the stores during the day may be saving time by ordering necessities online late at night.

Whether you’re drunk shopping or just trying to scratch items off your to-do list, late-night retail therapy does pose risks. One-click purchasing, can’t-miss deals, and the promise of instant gratification can lead to a mountain of debt and a closet full of clutter if you’re not careful. If your online shopping habit is spiraling out of control, it may be time to delete your credit card info from your favorite sites, unsubscribe from promotional emails, and delete shopping apps from your phone.

Curious how your late-night, possibly drunk shopping habits compare to those of other Americans? Here are seven items people are more likely to buy late at night, according to ShopRunner.

1. Coats and jackets

man wearing a trench coat

Have you ever shopped for a trench coat in the middle of the night? | iStock.com

People were twice as likely to shop for outerwear between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., though the reasons remain unclear.

2. Tops

shirts on hangers

Shirts are popular among nighttime shoppers | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Purchases of tops spiked in the evening, with more than twice as many people shopping for blouses and shirts at night compared to the daytime.

3. Accessories

handbags on shelf

Need a new handbag? You may have bought one last night after a few beers | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Sales of most types of accessories were higher at night, including glasses, handbags, hair accessories, watches, and hats. The one predictable exception? Sunglasses. Belts, wallets, and socks also didn’t sell as well overnight.

4. Kids clothing

elementary school kids in school corridor

Parents are shopping for their kids late at night | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Frazzled parents are stocking up on clothes for their kids at night. Sales of both boys and girls clothing were higher at night than during the day.

5. Sexual wellness products


Novelty condom sales jumped late at night | Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Is it any surprise that sales of sexual wellness products are higher in the wee hours of the morning than during the day? The number of people shopping for condoms, sex toys, and other intimate items was 113% higher at night than during the day.

On Friday evenings, lingerie sales also double, according to Lyst, and the average order increases from $126 on Mondays to $308 on Fridays.

6. Health care products

cold medicine

Many people are shopping for healthcare products at night | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sales of health care products, such as medication, toothpaste, and first aid items, spiked late at night. The number of people shopping in this category at night increased by 131% compared to the day.

7. Beauty products


The sale of beauty products rose significantly at night | Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Of all product categories ShopRunner studied, the greatest difference in daytime and nighttime shopping numbers was in the beauty products category, as late-night shoppers loaded up their carts with makeup, skin creams, and hair products. The number of people buying items in those categories between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. increased 132% compared to the daytime.

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