According to international research conducted by the University of South Florida, caffeine influences what you purchase and how much you spend when you go shopping.
You may want to put off drinking that coffee if you’re attempting to cut down on impulsive expenditures. Caffeine affects what you purchase and how much you spend while shopping, according to an international study conducted by the University of South Florida (USF).
The research team conducted three experiments in retail stores, an industry that is increasingly installing coffee shops close to their entrances. According to their research, which was published in the Journal of Marketing, customers who drank a free cup of caffeinated coffee before browsing the stores spent over 50% more money and purchased around 30% more goods than those who drank decaf or water.
“Caffeine, as a powerful stimulant, releases dopamine in the brain, which excites the mind and the body. This leads to a higher energetic state, which in turn enhances impulsivity and decreases self-control,” said lead author Dipayan Biswas, the Frank Harvey Endowed Professor of Marketing at USF. “As a result, caffeine intake leads to shopping impulsivity in terms of higher number of items purchased and greater spending.”
In order to conduct the experiments, an espresso machine was placed at the doors of a home goods store and retail chain shop in France as well as a department store in Spain. More than 300 visitors received a free cup upon arrival; around half were given coffee with approximately 100 mg of caffeine, while the other visitors received decaf or water.
Visitors gave the researchers their receipts as they were leaving the shops. According to the research team, people who drink coffee spent more money and purchased a lot more items than those who drink decaf or water.
Researchers found that caffeine also impacted what types of items they bought. Those who drank caffeinated coffee bought more non-essential items than the other shoppers, such as scented candles and fragrances. However, there was a minimal difference between the two groups when it came to utilitarian purchases, such as kitchen utensils and storage baskets.
They set up a fourth experiment in a lab and received similar results, this time regarding online shopping. They split the study pool of 200 business school students between individuals who consumed caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and asked them to pick which items they’d purchase from a preselected list of 66 options. Those who consumed caffeine picked more items considered to be impulsive purchases, such as a massager, while others selected more practical items, such as a notebook.
“While moderate amounts of caffeine intake can have positive health benefits, there can be unintended consequences of being caffeinated while shopping,” Biswas said. “That is, consumers trying to control impulsive spending should avoid consuming caffeinated beverages before shopping.”
Reference: “EXPRESS: Caffeine’s Effects on Consumer Spending” by Dipayan Biswas, Patrick Hartmann, Martin Eisend, Courtney Szocs, Bruna Jochims, Vanessa Apaolaza, Erik Hermann, Cristina M. López and Adilson Borges, 11 June 2022, Journal of Marketing.