As inflation surges and more Americans say they’re concerned about a recession, a recent study reveals that impulse buying is trending upward, and social media may be to blame.
According to a survey by SlickDeals.net, 73% of adults surveyed said most of their purchases tend to be spontaneous, up from 59% who said the same last year. Shoppers now spend an average of $314 per month on impulse buys, up from $276 in 2021 and $183 in 2020.
The survey found that Americans are spending more money on clothing, travel and experiences, and are now conditioned “to believe they can get whatever they want, whenever they want.”
Another recent report by online lender SoFi revealed that 56% of consumers surveyed said that more than half of their online purchases are spontaneous, driven largely by changing habits and the rise of buy now, pay later, options at retailers.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is a type of short-term financing that allows consumers to make purchases and pay for them at a future date, sometimes interest-free. Vendors that provide the service, like Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna, make impulse buying even easier. When a consumer sees that a large purchase can be broken up into small monthly or bi-weekly payments, they are sometimes “tricked” into making the purchase. As such, many use short-term financing for wants and not needs.
According to one report by LendingTree, nearly half of shoppers surveys said they wouldn’t have made the same purchase if they didn’t have the BNPL option.
Related: The Dangers of Buy Now, Pay Later
Websites like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are also a part of the rise in impulse buying. Bankrate recently found that roughly half of users have made an impulse purchase driven by something they saw on social media. SoFi found in it’s survey that it was as much as three-quarters of consumers.
Nearly 40% of young adults said they spend more of their money on experiences than necessities like paying bills, in part because they want to share it on social media, according to a report by Credit Karma.
Related: How to Create a Monthly Budget
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