3 Statistics You Should Know About Impulse Buying

When you see an item at the store that you didn’t plan to buy, do you stop and think, “Wait, do I really need this?” If you buy an item without thinking every once in a while, don’t fret, because you’re certainly not the only one. Like using cellphones, watching television, and going out to eat at restaurants, impulse shopping is not unique to any specific group. We’re all prone to impulse shopping, at least sometimes.

A new survey by CreditCards.com found that overall, 75% of Americans say they’ve made an impulse purchase. After the fact, nearly half of these shoppers had “buyer’s remorse” — that is, they felt guilty for having made the unplanned purchase. With the holiday season fast approaching, retailers have been getting ready. They place impulse items in conspicuous locations and make their best efforts at enticing you into spending more than you may have planned.

Will you be able to resist all of the temptation? Here are a few facts you should know about impulse shopping that may help you stay on track this holiday season.

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BWI is a common cause for impulse shopping

BWI, or “buying while intoxicated” (as the CreditCards.com survey describes it), was cited as a cause for many impulse shoppers’ purchases, with nearly one in five impulse shoppers in the 18-to-29 age group reporting that they had impulse shopped under the influence at least once before. Men are more susceptible to BWI than women, with 13% of men saying they had done so, compared to only 5% of women.

So it’s best not to enter a store or click onto your favorite online retailer’s website after you’ve been drinking. Wait until you’re clear-headed so that you can make purchasing decisions when you’re at your best.

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Shopping in a negative emotional state can cause impulse purchases

Negative emotions like sadness or anger can also contribute to impulse shopping behaviors. Of those who participated in the CreditCards.com survey, 28% of women and 14% of men said they’ve made unplanned purchases when they were sad.

Anger particularly affects younger shoppers, who are about twice as likely (13%) to buy impulsively when angry than older consumers (6%). Parents are susceptible to impulse shopping while angry, too. They just want to get out of the crowded store; perhaps their children are misbehaving. Parents who are angry (13%) make unplanned purchases nearly twice as often as nonparents (7%).

Even boredom can cause people to impulse shop, with 30% of shoppers citing boredom as their primary reason for shelling out the unplanned cash. Women (32%) are slightly more inclined to impulse shop while bored than men are (28%).

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Shopping while happy can result in an empty wallet, too

Surprisingly, the top feeling respondents associated with impulse purchases was excitement. And during the holiday season, there’s no shortage of excitement with all of the time with family, vacations from work, and deals and discounts from retailers.

Overall, 50% of women and 47% of men said that they’ve made an impulse purchase because they were “excited.” Younger consumers (18- to 29-year-olds) are particularly inclined to impulse shop more when excited (69%).

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