Online Websites - Products, Categories, and/or Brands: Impulse Buys
Five common products that the consumers of the United States tend to buy impulsively online are groceries and food items, clothing, household items,
children’s items, and electronics. Online shoppers make impulse purchases once they are committed to buying an item online that require steps such as entering your information, dealing with shipping costs, and are more open to dropping additional products into their cart.
CATEGORIES THAT US CONSUMERS TEND TO BUY ONLINE ON IMPULSE
1. GROCERIES AND FOOD ITEMS
- Purchasing groceries is a popular and common way to spend money online. According to a CreditCards.com poll, over 26% of respondents buy food items online every week and only 9% do it once every month. Buying groceries and foodstuff is said to be an impulse buy because shoppers do not realize that they are buying more than they would at the grocery store.
- Online buyers of groceries and foodstuff tend to spend an extra few dollars to save time since they are more accustomed to the concept of convenience shopping online. This spurs them further to drop extra items into their shopping cart without comparing costs.
- Online grocery shoppers are found to be just as impulsive as they would be in a physical store. However, they tend to be more open-minded online due to the vast range of choices and the ability to shift between brands. Online shoppers are freer to explore their choices to fulfill their needs.
- Advantages of online shopping for groceries is mostly due to good customer service, on-time home delivery, convenient shopping, and options for same-day-delivery.
- Amazon is one of the world's leading websites in terms of the number of impulse-buying features for this category, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan. The price range of groceries and food items via the e-commerce platform, Amazon, is between $3 and $50.
2. CLOTHING PRODUCTS
- According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan on "Impulse Buying: Design Practices and Consumer Needs", one of the most common products that have been reported being bought online on impulse is clothing.
- Touch is an important factor in purchasing clothing and given that the internet prevents consumers from actually touching or trying on garments, purchasing clothes online would constitute an impulse buy.
- According to the Impulse Buying study, Macy's, JCPenney, and NY&C (New York & Company) are some leading websites in the United States for apparel and accessories in terms of the number of features designed for impulse purchases.
- The price range of the impulsive buy for the category of clothing through the e-commerce platform, Macy's, is between $50 and $500 and that of NY&C is between $6 and $18. These ranges constitute products that are on sale, have discounted prices, featured products, or have free shipping option.
3. HOUSEWARE PRODUCTS
- According to the Impulse Buying study, a common category that consumers tend to buy online on impulse is houseware products. Several participants of the study described their past purchases for household items as products they did not “need”, such as an unnecessary household item.
- The study revealed that the online stores of Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma, within the houseware category, contain the largest number of impulse features for consumers.
- The price range of the impulsive buy for the category of houseware products through the e-commerce website Bed Bath & Beyond is between $9.74 and $159.99 and feature products with special deals.
- The price range of the impulsive buy for this category through the website of Williams Sonoma is between $9.74 and $50 and feature products from its "shop top sellers" section that are on sale.
4. CHILDREN'S ITEMS
- According to the Impulse Buying study, a common category that consumers tend to buy online on impulse is children's items. This is primarily because adults, especially mothers, go online shopping with their backup impulse buyers, their children. "Nobody’s desire for instant gratification is as strong as a child’s".
- Mass merchant online platform such as Amazon and eBay cater items for children and are two of the world's largest online stores for consumer shopping. According to the Impulse Buying study, Amazon and eBay's websites have the largest impulse features for customers.
- The price range of impulse buy for children's products through the e-commerce platform, eBay, is under $2 and over $7. These products usually have the option of free shipping internationally.
- According to the Impulse Buying study, a common category that consumers tend to buy online on impulse is electronics. Electronic online impulse buyers are keen on grabbing most of the available deals and are particularly driven by the fear that certain products will not be available at a later time.
- Newegg and Best Buy are two electronic online stores that have the highest number of impulse features for customers, according to the study conducted by the University of Michigan.
- The price range of the impulse buy for electronic products through the e-commerce platform, Newegg, is between $69.99 and $909. These products constitute items that have rebates, discounts, and promo codes.
We began our search by leveraging information from research studies, industry publications, pre-compiled information from market research and media websites such as CNBC and eMarketer, and articles from industry-specific websites such as FoodDive to identify five products, categories, and/or brands that US consumers tend to buy online on impulse. We found a list of impulse purchases online from a study conducted by the University of Michigan. We then conducted an extensive search to provide an analysis as to why these products are an impulse buy by searching through behavioral science articles, blogs, and publications that are related to impulse online purchase. After an extensive search, we were able to identify the most common categories that US consumers tend to buy online on an impulse. However, these channels did not contain information on the price range of the impulse buy.
In order to identify the price range for each category, we looked into the data from consumers product databases that compile and categorize products in the United States. The idea was to find products such as food and goods one can buy at a regular store and online to provide insights and data surrounding their price range. However, most of the data found were prices from e-commerce platforms.
We then looked for information that can be used as a proxy by searching for the prices in each of the websites identified by the Impulse Buying study under the section of most number of impulse features. The price range of impulse buy for each category has limited availability since the available data on the subject is present in a more general capacity rather than specific to impulse online purchasing. We then listed out the price range of e-commerce websites based on the category and the products that are on sale, with discounts and free shipping among others. We assume that products which are on sale, have discounts, promo coupons, and free shipping options are most likely to be bought on an impulse.