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Study reveals that impulse buying has not decreased in spite of ecomomic downturn

A follow-up report examining impulsive shopping and understanding its role in shopper behaviour has been launched today.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Study reveals that impulse buying has not decreased in spite of ecomomic downturn

The study follows on from Shoppercentric’s 2008 Windows on Impulse Shopping report, and aims to give an  indication of how shoppers impulse behaviour has changed over time particularly in light of the continuing economic downturn.

Despite the air of austerity, Shoppercentric found that shoppers were as impulsive as ever and, in some cases, even more so than in 2008 before the downturn took its toll.

The report showed that the number of grocery categories that a shopper bought from impulsively has increased by a third since 2008. Furthermore, shoppers were found to be just as likely to buy expensive high ticket items such as furniture and electricals on impulse (27% in 2008 vs 28% 2011). 

“The findings show that shoppers are as impulsive as ever, but they are doing so for different reasons,” said Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director at Shoppercentric.  “Historically impulsive spending implies frivolous spending behaviour, but this is not necessarily the case today – now, impulse behaviour can be the mark of a smart and savvy shopper. It’s about opportunism: seeing a product at a good price or spotting a bargain that genuinely saves money - these are the factors that drive impulse whilst allowing shoppers to feel they are in real control of their spending during difficult times.”

Other key findings included:

- The number of grocery categories that a shopper bought from impulsively has increased by a third since 2008 

- Despite shoppers buying as impulsively as ever, just 21% of shoppers would actually admit to being more impulsive now vs 27% in 2008

- Women continue to be the more impulsive shoppers – 77% of women vs 71% of men when grocery shopping; and 63% of women vs 50% of men when mid-cost shopping. The report found that both women and men shopped equally impulsively on high ticket items (28%)
  
- The level of impulse shopping via online has dropped from 50% to 43% of shoppers

- 39% of women in 2011 agreed that shopping was a fun way of using up time in the day compared to 29% in 2008

- 45% of 18-24 year old shoppers said that they were buying things more impulsively now vs 21 % for the total sample. They were also the most impulsive age group when buying mid cost or high cost items.  60% of this group agreed that shopping got them out of the house, compared to 46% among the total sample.

- Promotions were an increasingly important factor driving impulsive behaviour this year with low prices (44%) and good bargains (40%) being cited as the biggest impulse triggers for shoppers. Pester power produced the least results with just 3% of triggers.

- The ranking of impulse products has changed, with the more traditional treating categories occupying the top places (sweets in first place followed by cakes and chocolate - the same as in 2008). The biggest change was with ready meals – falling from 5th place in 2008 to 11th in 2011. Far fewer are now buying ready meals on impulse, but of those that do, they are now twice as likely to say it was an indulgence than in 2008.

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