Study Finds Americans Spend $5,400 A Year, Or $324,000 In Their Lifetime, On Impulse Buys

Study Americans Spend Year Impulse Buys


If you’ve ever found yourself suddenly buying an item you didn’t know you needed until you saw it, you’re not alone, as a new study finds Americans on average impulsively buy three things a week. In fact, Americans spend a whopping $324,000 on impulse purchases in their lifetime, according to this research.

From food items to new clothing, household items and takeout, the three impulse buys per week adds up to a remarkable 156 impulse purchases every year — more than 9,000 in a lifetime.

According to a study of 2,000 Americans conducted by market researchers OnePoll and commissioned by Slickdeals, people estimate they spend an average of $450 impulsively every month.

That adds up to $5,400 annually and, when projected over the average adult lifetime, means we part ways with $324,000 (!!!!) on impulse purchases.

According to those polled, roughly one out of every five purchases made (20 percent) is done impulsively, with food and groceries being the most commonly-bought impulse item, followed by clothing and household items.

One in four Americans have pulled the trigger on a nice pair of shoes after encountering them in a store and nearly three in four Americans (72 percent) have fallen victim to the alluring temptation of the candy that lives among store cash registers.

The Slickdeals study also found that 32 percent of people have impulsively bought food after catching a whiff from a nearby restaurant, and one in ten (11 percent) have actually taken a spontaneous vacation.

People said that they tend to impulse buy more when they’re happy and excited as opposed to sad or stressed, and, unsurprisingly, December turned out to be the biggest month of the year for impulse buying.

But be fooled into thinking people are just buying gifts for others, because the majority of impulse purchases tend to be for oneself, with 54 percent of impulse buys meant for number one.

So, what is the driving force behind buying something impulsively? The study found that the biggest reason (64 percent) for somebody making an impulse purchase to be that there’s a deal on that product.

“Impulse purchasing in the traditional sense can put a dent in your personal finances, but there is a way to turn the tables. You can buy impulsively and get the rush of getting a great deal, but do it sensibly by buying things you’ll need later on,” Slickdeals CEO Josh Meyers said. “For instance, you can buy a birthday or Christmas present for family and friends months in advance, or you can stock up on household essentials with promotions and discount codes from big name retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon.”

40 percent reported that they have purchased an item because a coupon landed in their mailbox, and 33 percent have bought something after receiving a coupon via email.

One in five (21 percent) reported they tend to impulse buy while surfing the web, but shipping costs have stopped quite a bit of impulse purchases right in their tracks. A lot of people are okay with spending retail price, but second thoughts start to creep in when the shipping charge finally reveals itself. 70 percent of respondents said this has changed their mind on an impulse buy before.

Even with all the impulse buys, pinching pennies is still important to American shoppers, as a whopping 85 percent tend to look for deals or coupons before shopping impulsively.

“At Slickdeals, we equate impulse purchasing with saving money. We use crowd-sourcing from our 10 million users to uncover the very best deals on any given day,” said Meyers. “It’s an effortless way to save money on products you will need in the future – why wait until you run out of something, only to pay full price, when you can anticipate your needs in advance and save money in the process?”

Top 5 most common impulse buys
1. Food/groceries (70.5%)
2. Clothing (53%)
3. Household items (33.45%)
4. Takeout (29.05%)
5. Shoes (28.25%)

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.