Majority of shoppers still buy on impulse despite increased use of lists

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th April 2009

In-store brand decisions take the average shopper just 2.3 seconds, according to research from America, with over 90 per cent of shoppers making at least one unplanned purchase on their shopping trip.

Curt Johnson, Senior Vice-President for the consumer industries division of retail consultants Miller Zell, believed the findings of recent tracking of 1,000 shoppers were unexpected.

“We were surprised,” he told Marketing Daily. “Because while we’ve been hearing so much lately about how careful shoppers are being, making lists and doing research on purchases beforehand, there’s still a lot of impulse buying.”

Shopping list use is on the up, yet Generation Y – the most likely to use lists – is also the most susceptible to advertising, finding in-store and outside advertising to be quite persuasive.

“People talk so much about this generation researching everything online before they buy it, but this study showed that they actually index much higher than other age groups in terms of finding all advertising – both in-store and outside the store – as ‘very effective’,” Mr Johnson said.

According to the research, shoppers consider in-store advertising to be slightly more effective than outside ads while, within the supermarket, end-of-aisle promotions have the greatest impact, followed by merchandising displays, department signage and shelf tags.

Another surprise was that shoppers were not as price-focussed as one might expect, with product messages often considered to be more important than price messages – particularly by baby boomers.

The study builds on recent research from Germany, released last month, which found that almost 40 per cent of purchases in the supermarket were not planned.