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Millennials Admit to Impulse Shopping

More than 80% of millennials have made an impulse purchase

January 19, 2015

Millennials are many things, and according to the “Chase Blueprint Holiday Impulse Purchases Survey,” marketers can add “impulse shoppers” to that list.

Chase found that 83% of US millennials had made an impulse purchase. This was especially likely on payday or when millennials were cruising shopping websites online. In those instances, their urge to purchase items on impulse alone exceeded that of other age groups.

For the most part, millennials made impulse purchases when they got paid, as 46% said it was time to spend when their bank accounts were flush. The older the shoppers polled, the less likely they were to spend money that just came in, the study said.

An August 2014 study by Gallup found that millennials were more likely than Gen Xers or baby boomers to make impulse purchases. The data showed that 42% of US millennials had made an impulse purchase in the past four weeks. However, Generation Xers and baby boomers followed more closely behind: 40% of respondents in Gen X and 39% baby boomers reported making impulse purchases, too.

Just because millennials make impulse purchases doesn’t mean they feel good about it. Chase indicated that millennials were more likely to express regret or dissatisfaction after an impulse purchase. Others more attuned to their impulsive spending habits tried to stay away from shopping altogether when they were emotional to avoid the risk of buying.

Impulse purchases also skewed higher among women studied. In particular, 20% of female shoppers cited “retail therapy”—the comfort and relief that comes from purchasing something new after a particularly trying day or event—as a primary reason for impulsive shopping, compared with just 9% of males. The other clinchers for female impulse shoppers were sales and discounts. Nearly seven in 10 women made impulse purchases after seeing price promotions; around six in 10 male shoppers were tempted by the same offers.

Though male shoppers made slightly fewer impulse purchases than females, when they did shop impulsively, 50% said they were likely to spend on electronics, compared with only 27% of female shoppers. For female shoppers, 61% said their impulse buys were mostly clothing, while only 43% of men said clothing lured them to impulse shopping.

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