Survey: Physical stores dominate impulse purchases

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
shopper
Impulse purchases are common in in-store shopping.

When it comes to making impulse purchases, brick-and-mortar retail — specifically the aisle — trumps online.

Eight in 10 surveyed store shoppers have made an impulse purchase, with 61% having selected an impulse item from the aisle, according to “Retail in Transformation: Impulse,” a survey of in-store and online shoppers from Kantar, which found that the aisle is overwhelmingly the primary in-store location for impulse purchasing. Two-thirds (67%) have bought multiple items when making an impulse purchase.

The study also found that fewer surveyed shoppers make impulse purchases online than in store. The rate of impulse purchasing among all participants was 79% in-store, as compared to just 58% online.

Other findings from the survey are below.

  • Thirty-six percent of participants reported feeling hungry and 27% thirsty while shopping, with those shoppers being more likely to buy for immediate consumption.  Almost half of surveyed shoppers who bought impulsively from the checkout reported feeling hungry.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of aisle-based impulse purchases by survey respondents did not have a visible deal or promotion offered on the impulsive item.
  • No participants in the study reported selecting an impulse item during curbside pick-up, primarily due to limited opportunity to do so; compared to 36% who purchased an impulse item while picking up orders in-store.

“Manufacturers and retailers want to know how to best seize the “plus one” opportunity with shoppers across many different types of impulsive occasions,” asked Leigh O’Donnell, head of Kantar Retail Shopper & Category Insights. “Traditional impulse opportunities are under threat due to e-commerce, evolving shopping behaviors and in-store evolution such as self-checkout and clean floor policies. Kantar wanted to study the shopping moment from the shopper’s viewpoint and explore innovative ways retailers around the globe are finding new moments of impulsive conversion. Because, while the retail landscape may be evolving, one fact remains steady - both shoppers and retailers want ‘plus one’ opportunities within the shopping occasion.”

Survey: Holiday shoppers return to store
According to Sensormatic Solutions’ third annual “U.S. Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey,” more shoppers are planning to shop in-store this year than during the past two holiday seasons. 

The vast majority of respondents indicated price and promotions will guide their shopping this season. More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents cited price as one of the top three reasons they might choose to shop in-store this year. Other top responses included:

  • Product availability (73%).
  • Safe and comfortable stores (42%).
  • Checkout speed (41%).

Kantar’s Retail in Transformation: Impulse study intercepted 500 shoppers during their normal in-store shopping trips. The study used a geo-fenced survey methodology to assess behaviors in-store during the shopping journey. Participants were asked to record photos and details of their impulse moments occurred, recording details about the selected item, its triggering details, and the shopper’s sentiment. Additional details such as in-store location and promotional conditions were derived from shoppers’ photography and qualitative commentary.

The study also focused on the impulse behaviors and attitudes of 200 online shoppers, both within their shopping journey as well as during pickup and delivery experiences.

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