Buying on impulse is a distinct feature of the 21st century. Strong advertising and a broad availability of goods make people less careful when buying whatever they need. In fact, people often cannot tell what they need. Buying on impulse, they try to compensate for their inability to choose wisely. Why stand thinking for a long time if we can try all products one by one?
Besides such basic factors as availability of goods and money to buy them, impulse buying is strongly facilitated by store environment and window displays. The retail settings of the stores display all the goods people like in the first place so that it is impossible to pass by displays and corners without taking one. An appealing presentation of goods is called visual merchandising; it helps to improve the image of the store and to enhance the retail.
Having a credit card strongly enhances an impulsive buying. Researchers say paying cash is the safest way not to spend too much money. Even debit cards make an illusion that they contain more money than there actually is. Weird, but we cannot adequately estimate the money we possess if we cannot physically touch it.
Besides independent variables (store environment, visual merchandising, income level, credit card) that influence impulsive buying behavior, we have education and gender that indirectly influence our shopping experience. On average, females are more predisposed to impulsive buying than males but male retail workers are more persuasive to customers than their female colleagues. Younger people are also more likely to buy without thinking than their parents. Education also sometimes determines how well we think over our decisions.