Don’t press the “Buy” button.
That’s probably what your wallet is thinking.
Monday and Tuesday is Amazon’s annual “Prime Day,” an exclusive online shopping event available for Prime members only.
Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the deals last 48 hours.
Walmart, Target, Best Buy and hundreds of other retailers are also doing their own sales to compete with the tech giant, according to RetailMeNot. But before you start stacking items in your cart, you may want to check your bank account.
Are ‘Prime Day’ purchases impulsive?
“Prime Day” is expected to become the third shopping period outside the holiday season that U.S. e-commerce spending will top $2 billion, as it previously did on Labor Day 2018 and Memorial Day 2019, Tech Crunch reports. While the figure includes Amazon, it doesn’t include the number of international markets participating in “Prime Day.”
While this may sound like a massive impromptu spending spree, most shoppers planned their “Prime Day” purchases ahead of time, according to Dr. Christine Wright-Isak, assistant professor of marketing and advertising at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business.
Now in its fifth year, the special sale acts like a reward for members and an incentive for non-members to use their free trial for savings. This means shoppers had time to browse, select and budget for what they wanted, said Wright-Isak.
The allure of sales, deals and coupons is also a fundamental shopping behavior, she said.
“We want to get something for free or for less,” Wright-Isak told the Miami Herald.
The exclusivity factor also adds an extra layer of appeal; it makes us think we’re getting a deal someone else isn’t, she noted.
And while Wright-Isak doesn’t believe there will be too many impulsive purchases, she recommends that shoppers think before they buy.
Impulsive spending can cost the average U.S. consumer $5,400 annually, according to a 2018 survey commissioned by SlickDeals, a consumer-driven deal sharing platform.
Out of the 2,000 consumers surveyed for the study, most say food or groceries are the main culprit of their impulsive spending. But 85 percent are more likely to make an impulsive purchase if they find a deal or coupon.
There are a few questions Wright-Isak recommends shoppers ask themselves before making any purchases:
▪ Do I need it or is it a want?
▪ Do I really want it or do I just want it because others might want it?
▪ Is it really a deal or is the ad saying it is?
▪ Does it fit my budget? Will this give me financial problems in the future?
Do people spend more when they shop online?
While each shopper is different, most are “savvy” enough to know if they’re getting a bad deal, said Wright-Isak.
“We’ve been groomed to be consumers,” said Wright-Isak. “The more you do it [shopping], the better you get.”
In fact, you actually spend more in-person, according to a report by First Insight, a customer-centric merchandising platform: “71 percent of all shoppers surveyed spent $50 or more when shopping in-store. This compares to only 54 percent of respondents spending more than $50 when shopping online,” the report states.
Shoppers are also more likely to add additional items to their carts in-store rather than online, according to the report.
This has to do with a variety of factors, but it mainly comes down to human behavior, according to Wright-Isak.
“There’s no substitute to the interpersonal experience of shopping,” she said.
Isn’t online shopping easier?
While e-commerce has made it possible to shop from anywhere, it may also overwhelm users with the options they have, Wright-Isak said. So, while you may save yourself a trip to the store, you could find yourself endlessly scrolling through options for hours.
Just because it’s online doesn’t mean shoppers need to think differently, she said — just use your “common sense.”