18 Dramatic Impulse Buying Statistics

Much of the world’s economy is driven by consumer spending. A majority of that spending is based on things we all need, like food, clothing, and shelter. The discretionary spending, or things we don’t need but want to have, is what can cause an economy to grow or stagnate quickly! Nothing drives discretionary spending like impulse buying.

Over 90% of people who shop today make occasional impulse purchases that they didn’t intend to buy initially.

Impulse Buying

Impulse buying isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if it is dominating a good portion of your budget. By knowing and understanding what the statistics about impulse buying say, you’ll be able to better plan your next shopping trips to see if you’re getting a great deal… or if you’re just satisfying a “want” that you have at that moment.

  • The single most motivating factor for someone to make an impulse purchase is the sale price of an item.
  • Younger consumers who have income will make more impulsive purchases than other demographics because they have more discretionary money to spend.
  • Up to 20% of the average household’s grocery bill comes from items that were purchased on impulse alone.
  • Feelings of anger, guilt, or boredom drive impulse buying behavior.

Impulse shopping has become such a part of every person’s lifestyle that we don’t even realize that we’re doing it some days. Let’s take an average trip to the grocery store as an example. You’ve got your shopping list and there’s some produce on there, some chicken, maybe some rice, and a few other things. Then you see your favorite cookies and you put them into the cart. That chicken fried steak for dinner looks good! You might feel tired tomorrow, so you purchase a couple energy drinks and then you realize you’re thirsty now, so you grab an iced tea to sip while you shop. Every single item you purchase that wasn’t on your grocery list to start is an impulse purchase. That’s why these statistics drive the economy.

Who Does The Most Impulse Buying Today?

  • A 2011 study showed that 6 out of every 10 women and made at least one major impulse purchase within the last year.
  • Men may not impulse buy more often than women, but they will spend $41 per impulsive purchase compared to $31 per purchase for women.
  • The average person, over the course of a lifetime, will spend over $110,000 on impulsive purchases.
  • Outside of food, the most commonly purchased item that is purchased on impulse is clothing. Wine, magazines, books, shoes, and toiletries are also common impulsive purchases.
  • A 1998 study showed that Americans alone spent more than $4 billion annually on impulsive purchases.
  • For shoppers who drive to a store instead of taking other means of transportation, there is a 44% greater chance that at least one impulse purchase will be made.
  • The primary reason why an impulse purchase is made is because it makes that person feel better instead of it being a useful or necessary item.

The old adage is that money can’t buy happiness, but that’s what the promise of an impulse purchases says it will provide. To some extent this is true because it feels good to grab something that is on sale. We might even talk about the amazing sale that we found and how great the deal was. The end result, however, is that there are piles of junk lying around a garage and wasted money that could have been spent on something more useful. That doesn’t mean that impulsive buy of a Snickers bar is a bad thing. It just means that the happiness which comes from chewing that chocolatey goodness will disappear with your last bite.

Is Impulse Buying a Serious Problem?

  • Impulse buying is heavily influenced by the smells, sights, and sounds of a store rather than the needs a person may have.
  • The average shopper will make an average of 3 unplanned purchases in 4 out of every 10 store visits they make.
  • Up to 5% of adults have an addiction to impulse buying that can create crippled finances and even lead to clinical depression and other medical conditions. Hoarding is also an issue within this percentage of the population.
  • When the purpose of a visit to a store is to purchase immediate needs or items that were forgotten, the chances of an impulsive purchase drop by more than half.
  • When a shopping trip is unplanned, the chances for an unplanned purchase occurring rise by over 20%.
  • When it comes to clothing, impulse purchases are rather stable across all income demographics except for households that make $50k-$74k, which is the lowest level of impulse purchasers by 4%.
  • Even those who regularly make an impulsive purchase in a store are less likely to do so when shopping online and this is true for all demographics – even if they have logged onto the internet to specifically purchase something that makes them feel good.

With the statistics of online impulse buying being 50% or more in nearly every demographic, it is easy to see how the sights, sounds, and smells of a physical store can influence the decision-making process. If you’ve ever been out shopping and smelled something wonderful, then you know how true that can be! Although it isn’t necessarily a problematic issue, it is important to realize that it can turn into one. With 5 out of every 100 households having potential financial issues simply because of purchasing habits, that’s a lot of people in any given community that could be struggling. By planning trips ahead of time, making lists, and then committing to those lists, the data proves that impulsive purchases go down. When that happens, money can be saved, and that’s always a good thing.

Impulse Buying Statistics