Shopping under the influence

Posted on by Guy Cookson

John Lewis has revealed something interesting about its customers’ nighttime habits.

It transpires that expenditure on the John Lewis website between the hours of midnight and 6am is skyrocketing. It has increased by 23% over the last 12 months alone.

One in fifteen purchases made using a John Lewis credit card now takes place in the wee small hours of the morning.

The kinds of products sold at this time of day will come as no surprise. Duvets top the list. Beds and sofa-beds predictably make the top ten.

Headphones are also popular – perhaps to block the sound of a snoring partner.

“Our research suggests shopping is now a 24-hour activity,” explains Mike Jackson from John Lewis & Partners.

“More customers are shopping on their smartphones and tablet computers and it would appear many are using this technology to shop from the comfort of their own beds.”

I wonder what part alcohol plays in some of these purchases.

As the New York Times noted, in a report on shopping under the influence, many of us have been surprised to receive a parcel in the post ordered after a few too many glasses of wine or beer – and then forgotten about.

“Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying,” explains Andy Page of online retailer Gilt Group.

The Hustle, which is aimed at millennials, recently conducted a survey of 2,000 readers that found 79% had made at least one online purchase while inebriated.

Personal finance website, Finder, estimates that just under half of all Britons have made drunk purchases, equating to a value of £291.07 per person each year.

This would add-up to approximately £4.46 billion annually, which is quite the hangover.

Another study looked at which drinks seem to have the greatest effect on expenditure for those under the influence.

Gin drinkers, apparently, are the most likely to splash out, while whisky fans are the least.

Shoppers with fewer inhibitions, impaired judgement and a lack of self-control are, naturally, the stuff of retailers’ dreams – which explains why so many run late night flash sales.

A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post.

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