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19 October 2006
The Joy Of Retail Therapy

There's nothing drearier than grocery shopping, so it's only natural that we give in to the occasional impulse-buy to spice things up a bit. Sometimes we may even set out to buy the most cost efficient, inexpensive, and most down-to-earth item of a range, but come back instead with the most expensive, glamorous and fashionable. Intuitively, you may consider impulse buying a little shortsighted and guilt laden, but according to new research, it may actually be beneficial.

The results of a new study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, show that basing your shopping decisions on gut-reaction rather than pragmatism often results in greater product satisfaction. "Our research showed that consumers who based their decisions on the feelings associated with the product actually tended to be more satisfied with their purchase - both immediately after the purchase and three weeks later," says Peter R. Darke, of the University of British Columbia.

Darke's research shows that product purchases are often emotionally driven, and that products bought in this way are associated with feelings of lasting contentment. "We found a significant proportion of consumers chose an option that was associated with positive feelings despite the fact that they recognized the other option had better features," says Darke.

In short, the research demonstrates that impulse buying is not necessarily a negative thing. "The findings suggest it can be good, rather than a mistake, for consumers to base their choices on the feelings they have about products, in the sense that such purchases ultimately lead to greater satisfaction," concluded Darke.

So, why not grab that exquisite pair of shoes next time the impulse takes you? By all accounts, you won't regret it!

Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

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