Campaign merchandise has been a staple of political campaigns since the existence of our democracy. From buttons to bumper stickers to T-shirts, political merchandise serves as a way for supporters, donors, and volunteers to signal their values, identify with others, and be a walking advertisement for their favorite candidates or causes. But how have sales of campaign merchandise changed throughout the years, particularly during presidential election cycles?
Historically, campaign merchandise sales have fluctuated depending on the election cycle. In the months leading up to a presidential election, merchandise sales tend to increase as more people become engaged and invested in the political process. In fact, the months leading up to a presidential election are often referred to as the "merchandise primary" because they often serve as a key metric for measuring a candidate's strength and popularity.
The trend of increased merchandise sales in the months leading up to a presidential election can also be attributed to the rise of social media and the internet. With the advent of these technologies, campaigns have been able to reach larger audiences and expand their merchandise offerings to include a wider variety of items. This has led to a significant increase in the number of people buying and wearing campaign merchandise, as well as the types of merchandise available.
During the recent election of 2020, merchandise sales have been rocketed by the availability of online sales platforms, like store on campaign website, and the sheer number of people who are passionate about the election. However, sales of campaign merchandise can also fluctuate depending on the level of media coverage and the popularity of the candidates. For instance, during the 2016 campaign, merchandise sales were particularly high for then-candidate Donald Trump, as he was able to generate a lot of media coverage and had a dedicated base of supporters.
While the sales of campaign merchandise can be difficult to predict, they do provide valuable insights into the popularity and strength of a candidate's campaign. They also serve as a way for campaigns to raise funds and engage with supporters. With the 2020 presidential election fast approaching, it will be interesting to see how campaign merchandise sales trend as the race heats up.