Forty-one per cent of Gen Z and millennials make impulse purchases online every 2-3 weeks

Two in five younger consumers make regular impulse purchases, according to a study by market research organisation GWI. While previously the bulk of impulse shopping was confined to brick-and-mortar, the trend equally picked up in the e-commerce sphere.

As the research reveals, 41 per cent of Gen Z and millennials make an impulse purchase online every 2-3 weeks. The number rises to 48 per cent among daily TikTok users, who are voracious in their consumption of social media. In stark contrast, this drops to 10 per cent among Baby Boomers.

Buying on the spur of the moment frequently originates from product exposure on social media. As individuals plunge into browsing products without purchasing intention, they are nonetheless exposed to stimuli and the temptation to buy something extra becomes irresistible, according to the Journal of Marketing Communications (2017).

It is crucial to determine the precise reason that drives customers to act on a whim to tap into the trend again in the background of soaring inflation.

However, is complicated to pin it down since the standard set of search tools varies tremendously between generations, rendering their motivations for impulse buying versatile. Thus, retailers should fine-tune their tactics to the specific demographic.

CEO and co-founder of a Dubai-based unconventional entertainment concept called The Smash Room, Ibrahim Abudyak, said: “The content on TikTok can’t be repurposed for Instagram or LinkedIn.

“We’ve people aged from 15 to 65 coming to The Smash Room. So, we’ve had to think of a way to communicate with different audiences across different platforms.”

Moreover, as iBusiness research shows how the availability of money plays a vital role in influencing the purchasing behaviour of an individual which underlines the importance to adjust retailers’ strategy accordingly.


But it seems that, ultimately, budget concerns are not always a deterrent. Apparently,  younger consumers are prone to making impulse purchases for an ample range of reasons including personalised recommendations from their online community and flexible payment methods, as opposed to older generation that are mostly lured by high discounts and are driven by thriftiness rather than profligacy. Convenience plays no small part as it is precisely why Gen Z and millenials prefer to discover new products through social apps.

Smooth and speedy online checkout processes (34 per cent) and social media ‘buy’ buttons (21 per cent) are the key reasons that nudge Gen Z and millennials to surrender to impulse buying. Therefore, businesses should focus on refining their online shopping experience and adapting to the ever-changing expectations that social media poses.

Head of marketing at ASICS, Ana Elisa Seixas, said: “As marketers, we must build an emotional connection with the consumer around the product. In our case, we’ve been doing that through our social media platforms. Also, by collaborating and creating genuine connections with influencers who are real ambassadors of sports.”

 According to The International Journal of Management and Social Science (2015), three general personality factors- lack of control, stress reaction and absorption- were related to impulse buying tendencies. This may prompt retailers to capitalise on the urgency and making limited-time offers to cash in on the trend.