How To Entice The Impulse Consumer to Purchase

Consumer shopping habits are constantly evolving, especially during these inflationary wars. For instance, Nielsen IQ just announced the US FMCG sector experienced its first positive unit growth month (April 2024) over the past 15-months. Monthly negative FMCG unit growth in Canada has been a constant over the same time frame. This is what makes the food sector so enjoyable to work in. We are always on our toes trying to understand the consumer and their buying behaviour. This past October, The Hartman Group as part of their study “Eating and Drinking Occasions Landscape 2023”, revealed that 72% of consumers are concerned about the rising price of foods.[1] In response, Canadians are adapting to stay on budget including:

  1. 54% are planning their shopping in advance to help manage spending.[2]
  2. 20% are consuming less food to save money.[3]

So, how do those brands that rely on the impulse shopper survive in today’s market?

What is the Psychology Behind Impulse Shopping?

Impulse purchasing is the buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden impulse. This lapse happens when our rational thinking is overridden, and emotional or cognitive barriers to spending are lowered in the heat of the moment. This phenomenon is often influenced by factors such as marketing tactics, peer pressure, or the desire for instant gratification.

Who is the Impulse Shopper?

Though close to three out of four consumers make purchases impulsively, Gen Z consumers are the most spontaneous shoppers: 23%: Gen Z vs. 22%: Millennials,         19%: Gen X, and 17%: Baby Boomers.[4] To that, 50% of consumers admit to buyer’s remorse afterward with women the most likely to regret the purchase: 52% for women vs. 46% for men.[5]

What is the Frequency of Impulse Buying?

Close to a third of consumers give in to the temptation of impulse shopping at least once per week.

Impulse Shopping Frequency[6]

Enticing the Impulse Shopper to Purchase

Why Do Consumers Purchase Food and Beverage on Impulse?

Food and groceries (71%) represent the most common item purchased on impulse.[7] The top 3 reasons for purchasing food on impulse:[8]

  1. Price was too good to give up: 34%.
  2. Treat myself: 34%.
  3. Looked too good to pass up: 29%.

How Can Brands Entice the Impulse Shopper?

Due to the food inflationary wars, impulse purchasing has declined as consumers have become more conscious about their budgets (77%). A study undertaken by Slickdeals in 2023 revealed only 36% of consumers purchases were impulsive as compared to 73% in 2022. [9]

So, what can the brand do to revitalize the impulse purchase? Here are 5 strategies brands may wish to consider:

  1. Emotional Triggers: “A trigger is a situation that elicits an unexpected emotional response”. “Emotional triggers play a pivotal role in impulse buying, offering marketers a unique avenue to connect with consumers on a deeper level”.
  2. Point of Purchase Displays: Do not underestimate the power of display shippers. Marketers can strategically position products and create compelling displays to encourage impromptu purchases.
  3. Social Influencers and Peer Pressure: Social influences and peer pressure from friends contribute significantly to the allure of impulse buying.[10]
  4. Bold Product Packaging: Bright vibrant colours attract the eye and convey optimism and cheerfulness. Seventy-two percent (72%) of consumers state that a product’s packaging design impacts their buying decision.[11]
  5. The Novelty of the product: Impulse buys don’t always come from promotions and strategic displays. Sometimes it’s all about the novelty of being new and original.

By incorporating one or more of these strategies into their marketing efforts, brands can effectively capitalize on the insights into impulse buying behaviour and drive increased sales.



[1] Eating and Drinking Occasions Landscape 2023, The Hartman Group, 2023

[2] Redefined Consumer Values, Carman Allison, Grocery Business, March / April 2024

[3] The Canadian Grocery Sector: A Year in Review, Nielsen Consumer LLC, December 2023

[4] 16 Impulse Buying Statistics Retailers Should Know,, February 2024

[5] Key Characteristics of Impulse Buy,

[6] The Impulse Buying Trend,, May 2024

[7] Key Characteristics of Impulse Buy, www.start,

[8] 16 Impulse Buying Statistics Retailers Should Know,, February 2024

[9] Impulse Buying Drops; Most Common Impulse Buys are…,, 2023

[10] Understanding Consumers Impulse Buying Behaviour, NIQ, February 2024

[11] How Product Packaging Influences Buying Behaviour in Retail.