Impulse Shopping: Just How Much Do We Spend?

By, Special for  USDR

Over half of Americans have spent $100 or more on an impulse buy (54%), according to a new report, including 20% who have spent at least $1,000. In total, 84% of Americans have made impulse  purchases.

The most common recipient of an impulse buy is one’s self (47%), followed by 21% who cited a child and 16% who said their spouse or significant  other.

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans made most of their impulse purchases in a store. Interestingly, only 6% made most of their spontaneous buys on a smartphone or tablet—which is extremely low for an era that heavily relies on mobile devices. 13% said a  computer.

“While Americans have thrown money away freely in the past, this holiday season they were rather frugal,” said Matt Schulz,’s senior industry analyst. “In the past three months, the most common impulse purchase was under $25. Only one in four Americans made an impulse purchase over $100 this holiday season. With a volatile economy, Americans are spending more  cautiously.”

  • Millennials are the most likely to make an impulse purchase for themselves, 30-49 year-olds are the most likely to do so for a child and 65+ year-olds are the most likely to impulse buy for their spouse or significant  other.
  • 1 in 5 seniors say they have never made an impulse purchase, more than any other age group. Just 8% of people under age 50 have never made an impulse  purchase.
  • Only 7% of millennials made most of their impulse buys on a smartphone or tablet, which is shockingly low for a generation that is known to be tech savvy.
  • One-third of those who make $75,000+ have made an impulse purchase of $1,000 or more, making them the highest spenders of the survey.

Although impulse buying can be fun at times, Schulz advises consumers to be mindful and to not make a habit out of it. In the end, impulse buying can lead to devastating debt if one is not  careful.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety  here:

PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (503, including 340 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from January 7-10, 2016. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.6 percentage  points.

About is a leading online credit card marketplace, bringing consumers and credit card issuers together. At its free website, consumers can compare hundreds of credit card offers from America’s leading issuers and banks and apply securely, online. is also a destination site for consumers wanting to learn more about credit cards. Offering advice, news, features, statistics and tools, helps consumers make smart choices about credit cards. In 2015, over 27 million unique visitors used to find the right credit card to suit their  needs.


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