Promotions spark 54% of impulse buys

In-store shopping is a big retail driver for impulse purchases.

Despite the popularity of e-commerce, in-store shopping remains a major retail driver. A new survey found that promotions and sales spark 54% of impulse buys in-store. Scott Moore, senior vice president of marketing for Mood Media, shares what contributes to a positive brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

The study surveyed more than 11,000 consumers in nine countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the U.K and the U.S.

Specifically looking at the U.S., 72% of shoppers cited the ability to touch, feel and try products as their No. 1 reason for brick-and-mortar shopping. This aligns with the sentiment in other countries, as 78% of consumers worldwide have the same top reason for shopping in-store.

And in-store shopping is a big retail driver for impulse purchases, as 54% of U.S. shoppers cite “discounts and promotions” as the biggest influence on their impulse buys. Another 37% cite “feeling in the right mood” as the top driver for impulse purchases.

Mood wanted to better understand what influences consumers’ decisions to choose brick-and-mortar over online shopping. It touches on the in-store experience, devices while shopping and more.

However, physical store shopping is not without its frustrations. The top annoyance for 60% U.S. shoppers is waiting in line, followed by items or sizes being out of stock, cited by 47%. However, 77% of those surveyed say that music playing makes waiting in line easier to handle.

Atmosphere, including music, is important to the overall experience. The atmosphere ranged as more important to shoppers ages 18-24 than other age groups, with one in three citing it as the top reason they choose in-store shopping.

And music certainly helps the consumers connect to the brand, according to 70% of those surveyed, and 84% said it makes the experience more enjoyable.

Other factors that contribute to the experience include visuals and smells. When a store adds scent and visuals, 59% of U.S. shoppers are more likely to revisit a store, and that number jumps to 72% for shoppers ages 18-24. Plus, 60% of these young shoppers would stay in a store and shop longer, given an enjoyable atmosphere.

Mobile devices are an increasingly important part of the shopping experience. Half of U.S. shoppers would like to receive immediately redeemable discounts pushed to their phones, a number that grows to 67% for 18- to 24-year olds.

Head shot of Senior VP of Marketing at Mood Media
Scott Moore

“Consumers are increasingly comfortable shopping in an omnichannel world, yet there are still key differences that steer shoppers toward one channel over another at times,” said Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing for Mood Media. “The tangible, tactile nature of brick and mortar is still viewed as a very real advantage, as is the desire for instant gratification."

"Further, shopping as a form of entertainment remains important to the majority of people around the world," Moore added. "Consumers, particularly younger consumers, aren’t just buying a product when in-store; they’re buying an experience. And their expectations for a positive, emotionally engaging experience are quite high. Those businesses who deliver an elevated customer experience witness greater repeat visits, a greater number of recommendations and longer in-store dwell times.”