We’re a Nation of Impulse Buyers

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Emotions and, in some cases, alcohol push many Americans to make impulse purchases.

If you’re like the majority of Americans, you sometimes find it hard to resist sparkly new things.

According to a new survey by CreditCards.com, 3 in 4 Americans admit to making impulse purchases. The survey also revealed that our emotions play a big role in impulse buys.

We make impulsive buys when we’re excited (49 percent), bored (30 percent), angry (9 percent), sad (22 percent) and intoxicated (9 percent). According to CreditCards.com:

There was something of a gender divide in impulse buying. While overall, equal numbers of men and women reported impulse buying, men tended to buy bigger and be less sober. Women spent less and were sadder.

Women are twice as likely as their male counterparts to make an impulse purchase when feeling sad. Men are more than twice as likely to impulsively buy something when intoxicated.

According to USA Today, consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow said you’re more likely to spend additional money after you’ve decided to make an initial purchase. Yarrow said:

“That’s why both online and in stores, there are always opportunities to add on another purchase. Coordinating sparkly doodads, batteries or snacks are at most cash registers, and messages or friendly reminders of other purchases pop up during online checkout for a reason.”

Other survey findings include:

  • Wallet busters. Sixteen percent of impulse buyers said they spent more than $500 on an impulse buy, while 10 percent admitted to spending more than $1,000,
  • Cash or card. About a third (30 percent) of impulse purchasers pay with a credit card, another third (32 percent) pay with a debit card, and the remainder (33 percent) pay with cash.
  • In-store or online. People are just as likely to make a purchase in person as they are online.

CreditCards.com senior industry analyst Matt Schulz told WSPD that impulse buying isn’t necessarily bad, as long as it’s kept in check.

“Making small impulse purchases every once in a while is probably no big deal and can even be fun,” Schulz said. “However, if they’re too costly or happen too often, they can devastate a budget, so be careful.”

I had a friend who used to go clothes shopping with me. She would buy several items, then take them home and leave them in a bag with the tags on for a few days until she decided that she really wanted them. She always checked on the return policy first. But it was her way of avoiding buyer’s remorse.

Are you an impulse shopper? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page. And if you want to avoid impulse buying, check out this video for tips from Money Talks News’ Stacy Johnson.

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