Rational or Impulsive Buying? 5 Questions to Ask Ourselves

Impulsive Buying

Are you an impulsive buyer? “Me. Never!”, most people would be quick to say. We always like to think that we are very rational, smart, strategic and cautious when it comes to buying things, but the truth is that many times, depending on circumstances, our buying are less rational but more of an impulsive buying.

We may not make it a habit of buying on impulse on a regular basis, but occasionally, we do have the tendency to knowingly or unknowingly slip into it. A research carried out some years ago (2011) reveals that 40% of consumer spending is impulsive. The study also shows that 90% of those sampled admits to making occasional impulsive purchases as well as acknowledge that between 30% to 50% of these purchases were impulsive.

Not that impulsive buying is out rightly bad per se. I mean, in some cases it may turn out to be a smart and inspired decision. It however when left unrestrained has the tendency to mess up our personal budget and encourage waste.

The constant barrage of advertisements, promos and offers we are bombarded with hourly both on the TV, radio, internet, phone, billboards, etc. does not seem to help matters. Rather, they unconsciously set us up towards an impulsive buying somewhere down the road.

So how can we determine for sure that our next decision to make a purchase is not based on impulsive buying hiding under the cloak of rationality? Here are a couple of questions we need to ask ourselves.

1. Is the item an immediate need and a necessity that is planned for?

According to the study, when the purpose of a visit to a store or market is to buy things or items that are of immediate needs and necessity, the chances of an impulsive purchase drop by more than 50%.

2. Is your shop/market visit planned ahead of time?

Unplanned, accidental and window shopping are all recipe for impulsive buying. The study shows that when a visit to a shop is unplanned, the chances of making unplanned purchased rises by 20%.

3. Can the purchase wait for some days, weeks or months?

This is another litmus test and would most times help you tame the urgency that often accompanies the urge for an impulsive buying.

4. Are you buying because the price or offer looks very attractive?

When you suddenly come across an item and it looks like an attractive bargain which you may miss when you delay, you have a greater chance of buying it not because you really need it, but because you simply do not want to feel bad missing out on a good bargain.

5. Are you being driven by emotion?

Studies have shown that feelings of excitement, anger, guilt, or boredom also drive impulsive buying behavior. When next you find yourself in a store or market and you have any of these emotions pouring through your mind, pause and take a deep breath because any buying decision may end up impulsive.

Your sincere and honest answers to these 4 questions will most likely help you figure out if your decision to buy that product or item is driven by impulse or rationality.

In a future post, we will consider some strategies that we can follow and that will assist us cut down significantly on our tendency to buy on impulse.

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