Drinking Coffee Can Make You More Impulsive and Cause You To Spend More Money

Caffeine affects what you buy and how much you spend when you shop, according to worldwide study done by the University of South Florida.

If you want to stop making impulsive purchases, you might want to wait to get that coffee. According to a global research by the University of South Florida, caffeine influences what you buy and how much you spend when you shop (USF).

Three trials were carried out by the study team at retail establishments, a sector that is progressively adding coffee shops near their entrances. Customers who drank a complimentary cup of caffeinated coffee before shopping spent more than 50% more money and bought around 30% more items than those who drank decaf or water, according their study, which was published in the Journal of Marketing.

"Caffeine is a potent stimulant that causes the brain to produce dopamine, which energizes both the body and the intellect. This results in a more energized state, which in turn boosts impulsivity and reduces self-control, according to the study's principal author, Frank Harvey Endowed Professor of Marketing at USF Dipayan Biswas. Caffeine use therefore increases impulsive purchasing in terms of the quantity of products bought and the amount spent.

An espresso machine was installed at the entrances of a home goods store, a retail chain store, and a department store in France and Spain in order to perform the trials. Arriving guests were offered complimentary cups of coffee; around half got coffee with about 100 mg of caffeine, while the other guests got decaf or water.

As they were leaving the stores, customers gave the researchers their receipts. The research team found that compared to individuals who drank decaf or water, coffee drinkers spent more money and bought a lot more things.

Researchers discovered that caffeine also affected the products people bought. Caffeinated coffee drinkers spent more money on non-essential things like scented candles and perfumes than the other buyers. However, when it comes to purchasing necessities like kitchen utensils and storage baskets, there wasn't much of a difference between the two groups.

They conducted a fourth experiment in a lab and got identical outcomes, but this time they were related to internet buying. They divided the research group of 200 business school students into those who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and asked them to choose from a preselected list of 66 goods as to which ones they would buy. Caffeine users tended to choose more impulsive purchases, like massagers, whereas non-users tended to choose more useful things, like notebooks.

Although consuming reasonable levels of caffeine might be good for your health, Biswas warned that drinking coffee while you shop can have unforeseen repercussions. In other words, anyone wanting to rein in impulsive spending should refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages before going shopping.

Reference: “EXPRESS: Caffeine’s Effects on Consumer Spending” by Dipayan Biswas, Patrick Hartmann, Martin Eisend, Courtney Szocs, Bruna Jochims, Vanessa Apaolaza, Erik Hermann, Cristina M. L√≥pez and Adilson Borges, 11 June 2022, Journal of Marketing.