Understanding Impulse Buys

Understanding Impulse Buys

May 2023   minute read

Most customers walk into a convenience store with a mission in mind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be tempted to add additional items. NACS Convenience Voices captured moment-of-truth insights from more than 6,500 convenience customers, and one out of five (20.1%) said they left the store with an impulse purchase. 

Spur-of-the-moment transactions are not partial to a certain time of day, but customers browsing the aisles during the late night daypart had a slightly higher tendency to purchase something extra (25.2%). 

Whether customers saw something they liked at 11 p.m. or 11 a.m., they tended to reach for something that would satisfy their cravings, such as candy (18.2%) or a salty snack like potato chips (16.1%). The most common impulse purchase was a packaged beverage (19.5%), and 10.5% of impulse buyers headed toward the counter to order prepared food. Cold dispensed beverages (9.1%) rounded out the top five impulse purchases. 

Respondents indicated that they eat with their eyes first. Of impulse buyers, 40.3% gravitated toward an item that looked appetizing, and seeing a brand that they liked prompted 21.5% of impulse purchasers to add that extra chocolate bar or bag of chips to their basket. An eye-catching product display influenced 19.2% of impulse purchasers. 

For the customers surveyed, it’s clear that appealing to their senses triumphed over pricing and promotions. In fact, the item being on promotion or on sale placed sixth, with 11.6% of respondents stating that this triggered their impulse purchase. Only 5.4% of customers were motivated by an item being a part of a group of items bundled or combined for less.

NACS Convenience Voices is packed with valuable, proprietary insights you can only get from NACS. Leveraging the ubiquity of mobile technology enables more precise targeting, expanded geographic reporting, powerful multimedia feedback and more. Visit www.convenience.org/voices to learn how to participate.

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