Impulse Purchases Seen More Common Among Youth

September 6, 2022

Younger Americans are more apt than their older counterparts to make impulse purchases, according to survey results released by GWI. Some 23% of Gen Z consumers in the US (ages 16-25) say they make impulse purchases, making them 17% more likely than the average to do so.

The results are from a Q2 survey of 20,156 US consumers ages 16-64. As with Gen Z respondents, more than 1 in 5 Millennials (ages 26-39; 22%) surveyed said they make impulse purchases, putting them 10% above the average.

By contrast, both Gen Xers (ages 40-58) and Baby Boomers (ages 59-64) under-indexed in their likelihood to make impulse purchases, with 19% and 17%, respectively, professing to doing so.

Which Categories Are Tops for Impulse Buys?

GWI also cites data from a June online survey of more than 14,000 consumers ages 16-64 in 11 markets, exploring which of various categories respondents have bought as an impulse purchase, defined as “not spending time to think/research an item before buying it.”

The top area for impulse buys is Clothing/Apparel, with 40% of respondents saying they have made impulse purchases in that category. Following close behind is Food & Drink, with 36% of respondents reporting impulse purchases. This may decline, though, as eating out is the first spending cutback that consumers around the world cite when faced with rising costs of living. In fact, results from a June survey indicate that 56% of adults in the US had reduced their number of food and beverage impulse purchases over the previous month.

Beyond Clothing/Apparel and Food & Drink, at least 1 in 5 respondents to the GWI survey said they had made impulse buys of personal care items (26%), technology/electronic items (22%) and household products (20%).

For more, check out GWI’s post here.


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