There’s a stark difference in in-store shopping habits between U.S. consumers in blue and red states, research from Esquire Advertising, a leading marketing and adtech company, shows. Comparing retail activity from Black Friday weekends in 2019 and 2021, researchers used hyper-targeted marketing technology to harvest the mobile IDs of over 670,000 consumers and their shopping activity in over 6,150 brick-and-mortar retail stores across all states. The consumer IDs were then matched with demographic profiles to reveal shopping habits and behavioral changes throughout the year.
Blue vs. red states
After analyzing the data, researchers found the biggest differences in shopping habits coincided with the political makeup of states. Across blue states, researchers found a 24% drop in in-store shopping activity, while red states showed a collective 45% increase in foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores. Illinois, California, and New Mexico experienced the biggest drop in in-store shopping. Alternately, Alabama and Mississippi had the biggest boom in in-person shopping compared to 2019. Swing states comparatively experienced minimal changes.
Jewelry shopping habits also vary between different states. In May this year alone, total jewelry sales across the country were up over 200% year-over-year. In particular, residents in Vermont spend the most out of all states on engagement rings — $9,329 on average. Washington D.C residents fall just behind, spending $6,810 on average. On the lower end of the spectrum, Wyoming residents spend the least amount of money ($3,406) on engagement rings.
The study also found Gen X shoppers to be the biggest demographic of shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores across all states. In blue states, older generations went out shopping even more often than Millennials. The most prevalent shared characteristic shared between active shoppers was children living in the family home.
“We wanted to get a big-picture look at how in-store consumer behaviors may have changed this year in the face of a global pandemic, and we saw the Black Friday weekend as a good opportunity to compare multiple demographics across the country at the same time,” said Eric Grindley, CEO of Esquire Advertising. “Some of the results were pretty surprising and underscore the unique situation retailers are in right now. We hope retailers can use some of these insights to learn more about their customers and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly so that they can spend their advertising dollars in the most effective ways possible.”