AI Sr. Partner David Bell Publishes on Impulse Buying

It’s long been a conventional wisdom of consumer product marketers that “supermarkets are places of high impulse buying — fully 60 to 70 percent of purchases there were unplanned, grocery industry studies have shown us.” So said psychologist and market researcher Paco Underhill in his 1999 book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.  In a newly published research paper, AI senior partner David Bell and two colleagues challenge this long-held view, uncovering evidence that far fewer of grocery shoppers’ purchases are impulsive and, further, that impulsive shopping is driven less by in-store merchandising and more by traits of the individual purchaser.  The research will cause many marketers to reconsider their approaches to marketing grocery-store products from toothpaste to tomato sauce.