One thing is for sure: People are impulse buyers.
They make purchases they hadn’t planned on—sometimes out of sheer curiosity and sometimes to satisfy a sudden need. And if you’re trying to sell them a product or service, you want to know what makes them tick.
We’ve compiled tons of interesting statistics about impulse buying, so you can understand the mindset of the impulse buyer and create campaigns that capitalize on their tendencies.
Impulse Buying Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
In the section below, we have handpicked the top impulse buying statistics that will blow your mind.
- 95% of Americans make in-store impulse purchases, and 88.6% buy things impulsively online.
- 78.4% of Brits and 63% of Canadians partake in impulse shopping.
- 67.2% of male and 62.6% of female Americans admitted making impulse purchases once a month.
- 60% of travelers in the United States would make an unplanned booking.
- 1 in 3 purchases made around the holidays is on a whim.
- FOMO seems to be a massive driver of impulse purchases online.
- Millennials lead the way in spending daily, but Boomers spend the most.
- 52% of Americans do stress impulse shopping, and 60% spend under $100.
Do these figures give you the urge to burn your credit card and never visit a shop without a shopping list again?
We feel you!
And there’s more below!
Global Impulse Buying Stats and Trends
Impulse buying is the action of purchasing products suddenly and immediately without having any previous intention of shopping. There are four basic types of impulse buying recognized in the world. These are pure impulse purchase, suggestion impulse purchase, reminder impulse purchase, and plant impulse purchase.
You’ve likely experienced at least one of these, considering that nearly 90% of Americans have done online shopping impulsively. This negative habit contributes to nearly $18 billion spent on impulse online shopping.
1. More people make impulse purchases in stores than online.
In a recent survey by Finder.com, a stunning 95% of American shoppers admitted to impulsively buying something in-store. By comparison, the share of those who make unplanned purchases online is 88.6%.
This is a high figure, yet still lower. However, as more and more people turn to online shopping, experts expect to see these trends changing in the years to come.
As for spending, in-store impulse buying is slightly superior again. In-store impulse buyers tend to spend about $85.85 per purchase they didn’t intend to make. Online shoppers typically spend $81.75 per purchase.
2. Americans make up to 156 impulse purchases every year.
The annual spending of these purchases reaches about $5,400 per year and often goes up to $324,000 over one person’s lifetime. The average expenditure of American impulse shoppers is approximately $81.75 per session.
Canadians spend less than Americans as their average spending is CA$73.81 or about $58.28. That’s why impulse buying in Canada totals about $8.8 billion a year, much less than the $17.78 billion recorded in the US.
Moving on to the UK, the average spending on impulse purchases in the country per person is £200 a month or about $267.14. Brits tend to make about 108 unplanned purchases per year and spend about £143,902 or $192,210 over their lifetime.
3. Americans lead the way in impulse shopping.
Compared to Canadians and Brits, Americans lead the way when it comes to purchasing things impulsively.
According to recent data, 88.6% of American consumers admitted buying things without planning to do so compared to 78.4% of Brits and 63% of Canadians.
4. Dutch consumers aren’t immune from impulse shopping either.
Statista’s figures on Dutch consumers, in addition, show that 88% of those living in The Netherlands regularly or occasionally splurge on food products. A high 40% were regularly doing so.
The figures are also high in categories such as clothing (83%), care products (73%), and shoes (68%).
The least likely categories for unplanned purchases among Dutch shoppers are furniture, bags, and music. Respective 69%, 71%, and 79% of consumers never buy such products on a whim.
5. British impulse shoppers spend more than £3 billion on spontaneous purchases each month.
More precisely, British consumers spend about £3.14 billion each month on unplanned and instantaneous purchases. Most of those impulse buys are clothes (56%), while food & drink (49%), home accessories (34%), and shoes (27%) come next.
6. During holiday seasons, about 33% of purchases are made on impulse.
(Think with Google)
Think with Google consumer trends show that people like to splurge during holiday seasons. In fact, 1 in 3 purchases made around the holidays is on a whim rather than planned.
7. Almost two-thirds of American travelers would spontaneously book a trip if they found a good deal.
(Think with Google)
The same data points by the platform show that American consumers are also open to instant booking trips. An impressive 60% of travelers in the United States would make an unplanned booking if they saw a good flight or hotel deal.
Moreover, Think with Google data shows that queries including keywords like “today” and “tonight” have increased more than 150%. This shows the flexibility and willingness of American travelers to book trips on an impulse.
8. More than half of American consumers make instant purchases to deal with stress.
Over half (52%) of shoppers have participated in stress shopping, i.e., the activity of impulse buying something as a way to deal with stress, depression, or anxiety.
For 87% of the respondents to the credit karma survey, stress shopping happened several times a year. A scary 60% admitted to stress shopping every month.
9. Nearly two-thirds of stress shoppers spent under $100 on impulsive purchases.
In the survey focused on holiday and stress shopping, credit karma analyzed the spending habits of stress shoppers.
Statistics showed that 60% spent less than $100 and 20% spent between $100 and $199. One in ten stress shoppers splurged from $200 to $299, while the remaining 6% and 4% spent $300-499 and $500+, respectively.
Unfortunately, 83% of those who dealt with stress and anxiety by making unplanned purchases later felt regret.
10. Planned shopping trips decrease the likelihood of impulse spending.
The latest data shows that consumers who go on planned shopping trips are 13% less likely to spend money impulsively. By contrast, shoppers are 23% more likely to partake in impulse spending on unplanned shopping outings. These figures show the importance of having well-planned shopping and carefully prepared shopping lists.
11. The average impulse buyer will purchase three unplanned products.
In 4 out of 10 store visits or about 40% of shopping trips, the average shopper will impulse buy three items. Only the most disciplined consumers will manage to resist all those cool items that weren’t included in their shopping lists.
12. Excitement and boredom motivate shoppers to buy on impulse.
Around 47% of male impulse shoppers and 50% of female ones reported feelings of excitement when making an impulse buy. Boredom was another common emotion felt by 28% and 32% of men and women who did impulsive shopping. Other states of mind mentioned by impulsive shoppers were sadness, anger, and intoxication.
Online Impulse Buying Statistics
13. Most American consumers can’t resist impulse buying via the internet.
A survey conducted by Finder.com discovered that 88.6% of adults in the United States have failed to resist making an impulse purchase online. The average amount spent on these impulse buying sessions was $81.75. In a way, Americans’ online impulse buying habits contribute to unplanned spending of shocking $17.78 billion.
14. About 44.5% of people who made impulse purchases reported feeling regretful afterward.
About 44.5% of impulse buyers reported feelings of regret. The best way to prevent this from happening is to take your time to reconsider the purchase. There are already tools designed to help with that.
Finder.com has created the Icebox Chrome extension, for example. It encourages consumers to put anything they’ve bought online on ice for 30 days. If you still want the item after the cooling-off period, it’s likely that you won’t regret your purchase later on.
15. Nearly two-thirds of Americans make at least one purchase on a whim a month.
About 64% of consumers in the US reported making impulsive purchases every month. Over 217.6 million Americans have bought at least one thing without giving it a second thought online. It seems that impulse buying has a pretty massive following in the country.
116. FOMO is the main reason and trigger for making online purchases impulsively.
Fear of missing out, widely known as FOMO, is the feeling of missing out on an opportunity to learn, experience, or own something that could make your life better. Some experts categorize FOMO as a type of social anxiety and offer ways to deal with it. Until that happens, however, FOMO seems to be a considerable driver of impulse purchases online.
About half the respondents in Finder.com’s study on online impulse shopping mentioned FOMO as their main trigger. The other top reasons for moving on with unplanned purchases include “no reason not to,” “I don’t know,” and “felt pressured.” Maybe people just like to spend money on cool items without overthinking about the consequences?
17. The satisfaction of buying something online on a whim is typically short-lived.
How does a person feel after completing an impulsive online purchase is a valid question. Finder.com has the answers. About 42.5% of the respondents said that they felt content. Yet, 44.5% also felt regret.
For 31.8% of the respondents, the main feeling was indifference, while 18.9% felt they didn’t have enough money. Finally, 10.1% reported fighting with their family members or spouse because of their impulse online shopping adventures.
18. About 64% of American online shoppers buy things spontaneously on a monthly basis.
Impulse buying online statistics show that this issue affects more than two-thirds of American adults. In fact, 64% of them reported buying stuff impulsively at least once a month. Things get scary for 6.7% of the consumers as this share of shoppers purchase items on a whim daily. About 22.1% do this weekly, and 35.2% report partaking in online impulse buying monthly.
The remaining 36% of American online shoppers have a tad healthier shopping habits as they buy things spontaneously every three months or more. About 17.9% reported they buy things online without planning to do so every three months, while 9.1% do the same every six months. Respective 6% and 3% do impulse shopping online every year or once in a few years.
19. Americans living in Florida spend most often and the highest amount of cash on spontaneous online shopping.
According to the Finder impulse online buying statistics, Florida, Ohio, and Illinois are the top states with daily impulse shoppers. In these states, 13.6%, 11.5%, and 11.1% of consumers buy things without giving them a second thought every day, respectively.
Floridians also led the way in average spending with $232.87 per session. They were followed by residents of Michigan and Alabama, whose respective expenditures were $158.39 and $134.23.
Demographics of Impulse Buyers
20. Men tend to do more impulse online shopping than women.
In mainstream media, women are typically represented as shopaholics who tend to spend cash without thinking twice. In the real world, however, men are the typical impulse buyers. Especially when it comes to online spending.
When it comes to unplanned online spending at least once a month, about 67.2% of male Americans admitted to doing it. A smaller share (62.6%) of female consumers reported doing the same.
For female shoppers, here’s the typical frequency of impulse shopping online:
- Daily – 4.8%
- Weekly – 21.3%
- Monthly – 36.5%
- Every three months – 19.7%
- Every six months – 8.9%
- Once a year – 6.1%
- Once in a few years – 2.7%
These are the figures for male shoppers:
- Daily – 11%
- Weekly – 23.7%
- Monthly – 32.5%
- Every three months – 14.1%
- Every six months – 9.3%
- Once a year – 5.9%
- Once in a few years – 3.5%
Oh, and men even tend to spend more. While the average spending on impulse purchases for female online shoppers is $70.97, men tend to spend about $105.35. That’s 48.44% higher than what the ladies are spending.
21. Both men and women go for impulse shopping primarily because of FOMO.
Respective 53.8% of women and 49.6% of men impulse buyers decide to make a purchase because of FOMO. They are afraid to miss out on a great deal, that they would forget to buy it later, or that it would be out of stock.
It’s interesting to note that more men (7.1%) than women (6%) felt pressured by online prompts, friends, or store clerks to make an unplanned purchase. Also, more men (18.8%) than women (17.6%) responded that they didn’t know why they made a spontaneous purchase.
22. Men tend to spend spontaneously on alcohol and personal electronics, while women on clothing and food.
In a credit karma survey focused on unhealthy spending habits, some clichés regarding male versus female spending have been supported. Most men (48% and 44%) reported making impulsive purchases for alcohol and personal electronics. By contrast, most women (82% and 59%) spent money spontaneously on clothing and food.
Spending money at the spa was the least popular among men as only 5% reported such unplanned costs. Among the ladies, only 3% and 5% reported spending money impulsively on their car or sporting event tickets.
23. Millennials lead the way in spending daily, but Boomers spend the most.
Finder.com’s research on online impulse buying discovered that Millennials are the most common daily impulse shoppers. Namely, 8.4% of them admitted to buying something unplanned every day. By comparison, respective 6.1% and 1.3% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers reported having the same habit.
However, things are different when it comes to the average amount spent on spontaneous online purchases. Here, Baby Boomers spend the most or an average of $174.25. Millennials come second with average spending of $82.37, while Gen Xers spend only $65.56.
24. Married people are more likely to engage in impulse buying.
It seems that married people or those living in a domestic partnership are the typical impulse online shoppers in the United States. By contrast, those who are single, separated, divorced, or widowed tend to spend less often on unplanned purchases.
Here’s the share of people by marital status who buy things online impulsively weekly:
- Married or in a domestic partnership – 30.9%
- Single – 28.9%
- Separated – 25%
- Divorced – 21.4%
- Widowed – 12.2%
Buying things spontaneously more often doesn’t mean spending more money on impulse purchases, though. So, let’s see who spends the highest average on unplanned products online by marital status per session:
- Separated – $113
- Married or in a domestic partnership – $97.89
- Single – $69.28
- Divorced – $60.84
- Widowed – $47.94
A 2018 Statista survey focused on shopping habits by age group discovered that Americans aged 18-24 had a 49% share of impulse purchases.
According to the survey’s data, as the age group increases the share of items bought on impulse drops. So, the impulse purchases share of those aged 25-34, 35-44, 45-64, and 65+ was 46%, 43%, 41%, and 35%, respectively.
Impulse Spending Statistics and COVID-19
26. The global pandemic has boosted impulse spending by 18%.
A recent Slickdeals survey focused on impulse spending and COVID-19 discovered that this type of shopping increased by 18% during the pandemic. In fact, the study established that people are spending impulsively more than ever before. This makes sense considering that lots of individuals deal with stress and anxiety through shopping.
27. Americans have spent more money on unplanned purchases since the pandemic’s beginning.
Slickdeals compared impulse shopping surveys conducted before and after the start of the pandemic. In January 2020, Americans’ average monthly spending on impulse buys was about $155.03. From April on, that amount increased to $182.98.
28. Instant buying made people feel better during the lockdowns.
While instant purchases tend to make people feel disappointed and regretful for their lack of discipline, they had a different impact during COVID-19.
Namely, 72% of those who bought something impulsively reported feeling good. Moreover, for 65% of instant buyers, buying something without planning turned their bad day around.
So, impulse buying isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s all you need to feel a bit better when the world hasn’t been nice to you.
29. Unsurprisingly, cleaning products were the most commonly bought items among impulse shoppers.
If you’re interested in what people bought the most during their spontaneous shopping adventures, Slickdeals has the answers. Namely, 42% of the buys were cleaning supplies, while 38% were hand sanitizers.
Next on the list was – you guessed it – toilet paper. About 35% of respondents said they impulse purchased this product. We all remember the toilet paper shortage that happened when the pandemic started. Now we know that many of those purchases weren’t exactly planned.
Finally, two other popular products among impulse shoppers during COVID-19 were hand soap (32%) and canned food (31%). Again, neither is surprising considering how important washing hands has become. Even though one would think it has always been important. As for canned food, it’s the go-to apocalypse product that always flies off the shelves during pressing times.
Like it or not, we’ve all made the mistake of buying something without giving it a second thought. This doesn’t make us the bad guy or irresponsible individuals. It just makes us human and vulnerable to all those marketing tactics out there.
However, we hope that these shocking but not that surprising impulse buying statistics will open your eyes as a consumer. Next time you want to purchase something you don’t necessarily need, just remind yourself of this article.
Practice makes perfect. So, every time you make the right choice, you are one step closer to removing impulse purchases from your life.
Impulse buying is a big deal, and it’s only becoming more of a focus as e-commerce continues to grow. The bottom line? Know your audience and their trigger points, and make sure you have the right infrastructure in place to address them.
It’s been a real pleasure to share our findings with you, and we hope that the information has been helpful! Once again, thanks for reading.