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The Psychology of Impulse Buying (and how it can apply to your business)

Updated: Feb 18

Have you ever been online, come across an item and hit the "Thank You For Your Purchase" page before you even remember why you bought it, and if you can afford it?


I'm sure we all have at least once, and this is what is referred to as Impulse Buying.

Our culture of consumption leads us to temptation and therefore to purchase something without considering the consequences of the action. 


Some people possess a personality trait called an impulse buying tendency. There are a number of behaviours that go along with this trait that reflect its detrimental influence. First, impulse buyers are more social, status-conscious, and image-concerned. The impulse buyer may therefore buy as a way to look good in the eyes of others. Second, impulse buyers tend to experience difficulty in controlling their emotions, which may make it harder to resist emotional urges to impulsively spend money. 


Knowing what motivates impulse buying can help with demographic selection on Facebook ads and promotions as well as influencer selection and emotional branding.

The concept of vicarious ownership is another buying motivator, which is essentially the connection between a consumer and a product. Connection changes the perception, to the point where we start acting like we already own it and it consequently becomes harder to imagine life without it. 


How is this practical? Well, with a physical product, this connection can simply be formed by touching it, however, with e-commerce based products, it becomes slightly harder.

This is where influencer marketing is so effective. A social media influencer is defined as: “An individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.” When the consumer sees your product on their favourite influencer, this vicarious ownership is formed because they coincide their views with that of the influencer and if the influencer is wearing this item, then they want to as well!


You see big fitness-fashion brands such as Gymshark, Pursue Fitness etc all use this to market their products. Learn from the bigger brands in the market, as their budgets are a lot larger than yours but the principle remains the same.