Running head: CAUSES OF IMPULSE BUYING
ITT Technical Institute
Everyone does it from time to time. I’m talking about acting upon impulse. In some cases, impulsive actions can be harmless or even rewarding. This is usually not the case though when it comes to making impulsive purchases. Studies have shown that on average, between 50 and 65 percent of items purchased while shopping we’re not on their lists, and we’re bought out of impulse. The question at hand is why, and this is what I am going to try and answer. Impulse buying begins a downward spiral that, if not corrected, ends with owning up to unexpected and undesired consequences that can be very detrimental and life changing.
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An E-commerce paper by Jared Spool posted on UIE.com (2011), shows the results of their own private research. Instead of asking shoppers why they might make an impulse purchase, they observed people shopping on the web. They focused their observations by forming a hypothesis based on the findings from The Yankee Group and Ernst & Young surveys: “If we actually watch shoppers make impulse purchases, we should see them make purchases based on price.” They decided to test this hypothesis. The group conducted a shopping experiment with 30 people. They asked these people to make shopping lists of items they wanted to buy. They didn’t suggest what the participants should buy, and did not ask them to complete hypothetical tasks. These were real people shopping for real things the shoppers really wanted. The shoppers were given money to spend on their purchases, and were directed to web sites that had the products they wanted. Many people bought what they came to buy, but many also purchased products they didn’t plan to buy – impulse buys. Even though these shoppers came to stores with specific buying missions, armed with detailed shopping lists, 34% of the items added to shopping carts were impulse buys. This represented 39% of the money spent by these shoppers. If the hypothesis about price influencing impulse purchases was true, we should have seen that when people bought on impulse, price was a