Uncovered: Britain’s impulse purchase habits

What gets your impulse racing?

We recently surveyed over 2,000 people across Britain to find out what makes us tick when it comes to impulse purchases. Here’s a snapshot of what we uncovered, including a top-10 list of the strangest impulse purchases people have made!

Top 3 places we make impulse purchases

  • Supermarket:                    35.4%
  • Online:                               34.9%
  • On the high street:            26.5%

Top 3 times we are most likely to make an impulse purchase

  • When I feel I need a treat:            58.2%
  • At the weekends:                          26.3%
  • Late night shopping:                      17.1%

Inspirations behind our impulse purchases

  • Women are more likely than men to go for a bargain (72.3% vs 61.9%)
  • Men are more likely to be influenced by a celebrity (9.1% vs 5.9%)
  • Boredom is the fourth biggest influencer of our impulse purchases (17.5%)

Deal or no deal

  • Over a quarter of us don’t get involved in big shopping events, such as the sales and Black Friday
  • Over one in five of us will spontaneously spend £40-£70 on an item during a big shopping event just because it’s discounted (even if we don’t need it)
  • Over 7% of 25-44 year olds are willing to spend more than £300 on an item, just because it is discounted

The stranger things...

To finish with, we’ve listed our favourite ‘strange’ purchases people have admitted to making, just because an item was discounted!

  • Whale meat
  • Chinchilla
  • A paper crinkler machine
  • Curry twiglets
  • A Kiss costume
  • Coffee machine (they don’t drink coffee!)
  • A life-size giraffe
  • A fluffy pink elephant 36in tall
  • 100 pairs of pants
  • A laughing mirror

What’s your strangest impulse purchase?

The list of strangest purchases did cause the odd chuckle round the office. And yet, what’s strange for one person is the most obvious, logical thing in the world for someone else.

For example, someone in our team (not naming names) thinks buying 100 pairs of pants is a wise financial decision! Everyone’s different and we embrace that, including another colleague who spent three hours (successfully) resuscitating a goldfish.

Click here to find out more about the Portafina people who have already helped over 14,000 people to make sound financial decisions…and what makes us tick.

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Important Information

All the statistics on this page are based on research conducted by Portafina in November 2017 (2,004 UK adults surveyed in total).

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The details provided in this article are for general information only and are in no way deemed to be financial advice. All of the material is correct as of the publication date, but could be out-of-date by the time you read the article. For our latest information and news, please see our articles section here.

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