Polls / February 2, 2011

How many times do you buy something on impulse

A quarter - or 25% - of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll admit to often buying on impluse.

It’s common to see it, want it, buy it
The eZonomics respondents who buy on impulse are not alone. Several studies have shown how popular it is. A paper by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, issued last year, cited research that showed between a quarter and a half of all consumer purchases in developed countries may be considered impulse buys. In the United Kingdom, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) found that 21% of people buy on impulse. An online survey of almost 75,000 people by ING in the Netherlands in March found 77% of respondents were impulse shoppers – with 14% doing so often, 63% sometimes and just 21% never buying on impulse.

Ways to control impulse buying
Impulse buying is not necessarily bad. But unplanned purchases leave little chance to compare prices. If too much impulse buying leads to unacceptable debt or reduced saving, it can it be seen as compulsive. There are several strategies to “control” impulses. The website of United States talk show queen Oprah noted the advice of Jean Chatzky to delay purchases by a day – both online and in–store – to reduce impulse buying. The FSA reported in a separate paper that setting a monetary limit for impulse buying (for example £2 per week rather than £20) could curb excess spending. The Finnish study noted people who use credit cards frequently and watch more commercial television tend to buy more on impulse.

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eZonomics team
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