Study: Men and Women Equally Guilty of Impulse Shopping

The need to for instant gratification gets the best of us all

We’re often conditioned to believe that shopping is most common among women, thanks to movies and TV shows like Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Real Housewives franchise. A recent survey by, however, proves that we’re all, men included, guilty of impulse shopping. In fact, men actually spend more. Women (24%) typically keep most of their unplanned purchases under $25, while men (21%) said they’ve spent more than $500. Especially interesting were other factors, like intoxication and emotion, which prompted both men and women to shop on impulse. When asked if they had ever made impulse purchases while intoxicated, 13% of men said yes compared to only 5% of women. On the contraire, 28% of women outnumbered men (14%) and admitted to impulse shopping while sad.

Other findings include:


  • Shoppers between 18 and 29 years old were more likely (13%) to impulsively buy than adults 65 and older (6%).
  • When bored, 32% of women admitted to impulse shopping as did 28% of men.
  • 50% of women and 47% of men said they made impulse purchases while they were excited.
  • Only 64% of people who never attended college impulsively shopped, as compared to 86% who were college graduates.
  • Exactly 50% of participants made an impulse purchase that they later regretted.

The findings reveal that all people–regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, and education level–are prone to impulse buying. Dorothy Sasmor, a Central Florida psychologist, said, “People can be impulsive—‘I want what I want now’—and don’t really think through their decisions.” Nearly every American, three in four, has done some impulse shopping.

Also check out these helpful tips to keep your shopping under control.

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