Pandemic Boredom Leads to More Retail Impulse Buys

Pandemic Boredom Leads to More Retail Impulse Buys
Consumers appear eager to make impulse buys over the next month or more.

Impulse purchases are on the rise, potentially good news for retailers as the pandemic continues, according to a new report from Valassis, a Livonia, Mich.-based marketing technology and consumer engagement firm.

Since the pandemic begin early this spring, 36% of U.S. shoppers have made an impulse purchase, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers. Over the next month, 65% of consumer plans to make “an impulse purchase based on an advertisement since the pandemic began,” the report said.

Consumers, it seems, are more than a big eager for excitement after months of lockdown and having most retail stores closed.

"Consumers have had to change the way they live and shop over the last few months, creating, for some, pent-up demand for novelty and discovery,” said Carrie Parker, the vice president of marketing for Valassis. “While saving money is top of mind, we see that many consumers are looking to discover new products, using deals and offers as a purchase catalyst. Connecting the dots between shifting behavior, purchase motivations and preferred ways of engaging will enable marketers to use this consumer desire for novelty to make a real brand connection.”

The report also found that 76% of consumers are eager to discover new products that are based on deals sent by brands. That’s not all when it comes to the desire for something new during the COVID-19 outbreak: 53% of consumers have tried new food retail stores, 52% have tried a new restaurant (many remained opened for take-out and delivery) and 49% have tried a new retailer (they still kept selling online) since the pandemic started, the report said.

The biggest driver for all that retail exploration? “An offer, discount or deal,” Valassis said.

The report also serves as a source of at least cautious optimism for retailers worried about how the back-to-school shopping season might unfold. That’s because 65% of consumers “are looking forward to shopping summer sales and promotions,” the company found. Only 19% of those shoppers expected to find such deals inside retail stores, yet another sign of how e-commerce has become more dominant during the pandemic.




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