Shoppers make seven big impulse buys per year on average – survey

TV mathematician Bobby Seagull has suggested people should wait at least two days and 21 hours to avoid making an impulse buy they later regret.

Vicky Shaw
Wednesday 09 August 2023 09:39 BST
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

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Shoppers make seven big impulse purchases per year on average, according to a survey.

Half of those (50%) surveyed for credit provider Vanquis said they spend impulsively because they enjoy treating themselves and nearly a third (31%) said they make spontaneous purchases to make themselves feel better.

But some end up regretting their decisions, with bikes, footwear, cosmetics and beauty treatments, and games consoles/gadgets found to be the top items which people most regret buying.

The least regretted purchases include kitchen accessories, washing machines, phones and TVs.

On average, people spend nearly £184 per year on items they later regret purchasing.

TV mathematician Bobby Seagull calculated that shoppers should wait at least two days and 21 hours on average between finding an item they want to buy and deciding to spend.

The calculation was based on finding the tipping point where more people were pleased with their purchase than regretted it.

It was based on data supplied by Censuswide, which was commissioned by Vanquis to survey 4,000 people across the UK in July to find out about their spontaneous purchases. “Big” impulse buys were defined as those costing at least £150.

Seagull said: “At a time when every penny counts, it’s important for consumers to think twice before they buy, to ensure they are getting the most value out of their money.”

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