Social media impulse buying appears to be a growing phenomenon

Have you caught yourself scrolling on Instagram or TikTok and then reaching for your wallet? If so, you’re not alone. 

A survey from Bankrate shows that nearly half of social media users admitted to making impulse purchases. 

It’s a phenomenon that has cost Americans $71 billion in the past 12 months, Bankrate reported. 

“We’re conditioned to want to put our best foot forward, but keeping up with the Joneses can land you in debt,” warned Tedd Rossman, Bankrate senior industry analyst.

Rossman also noted that those impulse purchases likely won’t bring people long-term happiness. In fact, the survey shows that 68% of respondents regretted at least one of their impulse purchases.

No matter a person’s age, no one group is exempt from impulse buying. With the sophistication of algorithms, social media services can usually identify what will interest a specific user. 

Millennials are guilty of impulse buying more than any other generation, according to Bankrate, at 61%. They are closely followed by their younger counterparts in Gen Z at 60%. 

Gen X and Baby Boomers appear to have much more restraint when using social media. Forty-two percent of Gen X admitted to social media-influenced impulse buying, while only 34% of Baby Boomers made those purchases. 

Experts say people can cut down on impulse purchases by identifying emotional triggers. 

“Set down your phone when you identify that you’re shopping in response to a trigger and come back to the item later to see if you still want it,” Bankrate advises.