Impulse Purchasing Essay

4081 words - 17 pages

ASA University Review, Vol. 4 No. 2, July–December, 2010

Impulse Purchasing: A Literature Overview
Wahida Shahan Tinne*
Impulse purchasing behavior is a mystery in marketing and in literature. Consumers themselves
named it as the deviation from standard, which explains a big sale of different goods every year.
At present when market competition is high and all types of companies apply promotion in their
activities, stimulation of impulse purchasing in the market of consumer goods may become a
strong competitive advantage. Evolution of impulse purchasing, process of consumer’s impulse
purchasing behavior, theoretical framework of impulse purchasing and various factors ...view middle of the document...

This consumer buying process is influenced by
social, marketing, and situational Factors (Churchill and Peter, 1998). Culture, subculture, social
class, family, reference groups, marketing mix, physical surroundings (store location,
merchandise display, store interior/exterior design, etc.), social surroundings (people’s
characteristics and roles, the way they interact, etc.), time, task, monetary conditions, and
momentary moods, etc. influence the consumers’ thoughts, feelings and actions in the consumer
buying process (Belk, 1975; Iyer, Park, and Smith, 1989; Churchill and Peter, 1998). Although
useful in explaining planned purchase situations, Churchill’s and Peter’s (1998) model does not
lend itself to explaining the process of impulse purchasing.


Lecturer, Faculty of Business, ASA University Bangladesh


ASA University Review, Vol. 4 No. 2, July–December, 2010

1.2 Definition
An impulse purchase or impulse buy is an unplanned or otherwise spontaneous purchase. One
who tends to make such purchases is referred to as an impulse purchaser or impulse buyer.
Impulse items can be anything, a new product, samples or well-established products at surprising
low prices. Parboteeah (2005; based on Piron, 1991:512) performed concept analysis of impulsive
buying presented by scientists and introduced comprehensive definition of impulse purchasing:
“Impulse buying is a purchase that is unplanned, the result of an exposure to a stimulus, and
decided on-the-spot. After the purchase, the customer experiences emotional and/or cognitive
From this definition, the first characteristic of an impulse buying is that it is an unplanned
purchase. The consumer decides to purchase the object on the spur of the moment, not in
response to a previously recognized problem. The second characteristic of impulse buying is the
exposure to the stimulus. The stimulus can be considered to be the catalyst which makes the
consumer be impulsive. The stimulus can be a piece of clothing, jewelry, or candy. The third
characteristic of impulse buying is the immediate nature of the behavior. The consumer makes a
decision on the spur of the moment without any evaluation of the consequences of making such a
purchase. Finally, the consumer experiences emotional and/or cognitive reactions, which can
include guilt or disregard for future consequences.

2. Evolution of Impulse Purchasing
The need to understand impulse buying in retail stores was first identified in the marketing
literature over fifty years ago (Clover, 1950). Baum (1951) addressed that consumer was
stimulated to impulse buying after they came into the store. Stern (1962) was the first scholar to
suggest four distinct types of impulse purchases namely - pure, reminder, suggestion, and planned
impulse buying. Rook (1987) argued successfully that impulse buying should be depicted it as
extraordinary, exciting, hedonically complex and compelled buyer...

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