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The Longer They Shop, The More They Buy
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Consumers are fascinating to watch. When they shop, many of them wholeheartedly believe that they will leave with only the thing they intended to purchase.

The science, though, suggests that the amount of unintended purchases (impulse buying or point-of-sale buying) increases based on the amount of time spent shopping and the budget of the consumer.

This recent study was done by a group of professors and professionals, which makes us really like the study. We are total advocates for the academia/AdLand connection, so seeing that in action makes us very happy.

The study followed a couple hundred shoppers between two grocery stores and the respondents were asked what they intended to buy and the cost of what they will eventually end with. The study supported their hypothesis; that the longer the person shopped, the more likely they would be to add more to their purchases, but there was a twist. Those with a budget under $64 tended to self-regulate better than those with a budget between $64–109 dollars.


As the study looks at how the consumers react, they examine self-regulation theory and cuing theory. The researchers suggest that during the shopping experience, if brands want to increase sales, that they offer sales and discounts or offers later during the shopping process. Brands are able to use real-time marketing analytics and strategies in order to influence the consumer to get more of the goods and services they are looing for.

It's a very interesting study, and it looks at tactics the everyday marketing professional could implement. 

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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