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Maximum Price for an Impulse Buy?
Oh well, if THAT's all it costs...

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 6:35 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

A semi-serious poll...

Imagine you come across a product that seems to fit what you want, you can get it immediately, and it has a 100% guarantee, but isn't very 'big'.

In other words, the source seems trustworthy, the sales copy fits with what you are looking for, but you're just not sure.

Then you see the price, and think "Oh well, if THAT's all it costs, I'll give it a go" and you go ahead and buy it.

How much?

Give your answer in US dollars and, to give some basis for comparison, the country you are based in. I'll work out an average once we've got some data to chew on :) I'll start:

Maximum for an impulse buy: $7.95
My country: UK



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 6:39 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maximum for an impulse buy: $15.00 (About 10)
My country: UK (Scotland)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 6:57 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just bought some clothing on impulse... each item was $25, and I bought two things. Total: $50. I live in the US.

However, the fact that the site offered a "no questions asked" return policy WAS the deciding factor. If I'd have risked being stuck with whatever I bought, I probably would have said no.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 7:03 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

My general rule of thumb: impulse buy should never be over 10% (and generally not more than 5%) of the total of what they were planning on buying when they showed up there.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 7:31 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think of this the other way around a lot of the time. If it's something I'm buying over the internet then there's more likely to be a minimum price before I would bother rather than a maximum. There are a few reasons for this, some of which probably take me out of your target market.

The main one is that I live in New Zealand. This means the majority of stuff I can buy from the internet is either from overseas or from a local company, and there just aren't many local ones around. In either case I wouldn't buy something cheap, because if it's international there are shipping charges and difficulties with returns, and if it's from a local site the chances are I can get it offline easily (mail order shopping via the internet in NZ isn't amazing as yet). I'm much too impatient to buy something small from the internet if I can walk into a shop, even if the internet gives me a two dollar saving.

Secondly I would need to pay by credit card, which I can never find. I have a tertiary account with my bank (no transaction fees) and eftpos is very wide spread in NZ, so I never use my credit card normally. So if I'm going to go to all the trouble of looking for it and checking it's balance then I want something worth more than a few dollars.

So my criteria for buying online are:
- worth at least NZ$25 (about US$12) - this would be my minimum
- if it's local I want to be saving money, probably at least 20% after shipping is included
- if it's international it should be something I can't buy here and worth the international shipping charges and wait

I'm aware that I'm odd and this isn't exactly an answer to the initial question. I just thought it might be interesting to someone that I actually have a minimum amount I would spend before buying online rather than a maximum. Also I do buy online fairly often, both locally and internationally, probably about once every two or three months on average.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member ann us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 3:37 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

my impulse pulse is 10 bucks..:)
At that I might still shake my head and walk away...providing it was not something I went shopping for...which is what impulse is all about.


creative craig

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 3:49 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maximum for an impulse buy: $15.00 (About 10)
My country: UK (England)



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 4:11 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

My immediate impulse purchase max is around 10-25 ($15-40)

25 is usually shareware registration - in order for me to pay this I either;

+ need to have tried the software in question for a few weeks
+ need to believe that no superior free version is available in a suitable timeframe

For ~10 I take less convincing, but I have to see the worth in what I'm buying (i.e. my K5 registration was cheaper than this, I believed in what they were offering and I wanted to give a little back to the community)



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 4:35 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

less than a tenner and I'll buy almost anything I see :)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 5:20 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

$25 - but I have no qualms about returning


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 6:56 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I assume this is an online purchase?

Online, since it takes time to actually *receive* a product, I very rarely impulse purchase.

Because for me, an impulse purchase is instant gratification. And if I have to wait 3 days to get the thing, it takes all of the 'impulse' out of the purchase.

In an offline situation I'd say $40 (US) is my limit. I base this on the 3 music CDs I wasn't planning to buy but walked out of the store with on Sunday afternoon.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 7:03 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

$200 (higher for some great hardware and/or software gizmo)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 7:04 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

The more I buy online, the more impulse dollars fly out the window for me, especially if it's with a merchant I trust. The easy refund policy is a must, plus all the other trust-builders and risk-reversals you can serve up.

[If I don't limit this soon, Amazon will make me broke! I'm becoming a Gold Box addict, and I will sometimes spend hundreds on an impulse buy.]


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 7:50 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great stuff folks, thanks. Now we need more! :) Come on you unstoppable internet shoppers, what's your impulse limit?



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 8:21 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Shelleycat - you're not as weird as you think. My process is pretty similar, for the same reasons, although my credit card tends to be kept a lot more handy :) Eftpos is a great thing here.. I haven't carried cash in years.

It's rarely an impulse buy, unless it's something techy/online.. a subscription to a service or something. Shipping costs, the risk of international mailing, CC fraud, etc, make 'physical product' impulse buys a rarity... it's more a case of a 'must have' that I just can't get here.

New Zealand
US $20 (NZ $40-45)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 8:32 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

$200 ... US

rcjordan - Would you please adopt me and give me an allowance? Just on impulse, that is. ;)

My impulse buys are usually around $10 max.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 11:05 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

For a shopaholic like me, there really is no price tag on an impulse buy...LOL.

I have bought anywhere from a candy bar to a car based on impulse buy.

My most recent car purchase was an impulse buy (2001 Eclipse). A month ago, I was at BestBuy with my gf (went in there to buy a DVD...LOL), and we saw a cute Bose 1-2-3 system. It sounded really great for 3 speaker system, so I bought it. (that probably was one of the best impulse buy I've ever made). Today, I bought a pen at Target because it looked totally tart!

I am not loaded or anything, but within my expendible income range, if the price fits the value line, I am likely to go for it

(yes, I do have a lot of weird/useless stuff around my place...LOL)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 3:12 am on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK, let's have a look at what we got...

Meaningless statistics time. Yum :)

Max: (excluding Agentsmith with outrageous impulse car purchase) $200 - thanks RCjordan
Min: $10 (US)
Mode (most common occurrence): $10 (US)
Average: $35

SO if we drop out rcjordan and agentsmith (sorry guys but you are officially outliers and totally screw our standard deviation)...

The best guess is that 10 of either dollars or pounds will allow shoppers to follow through on that impulse.

There you go, totally unscientific. Excellent.


Cy ;)

P.S. My wife is a 6-sigma black belt statistician. You didn't really think I know all those big words did you?


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3666 posted 9:59 am on Dec 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mark Fenske once said:

You can not logic your way into the consumer heart. People are not rational. We like to think, but we're not. Most people buy things for emotional reasons and then, after the fact, figure out a logical explanation for their purchase decision

Too bad I missed this post when it first started. This is a very interesting and profound subject. You can not calculate what is the maximum impulse for given a individual at a given time.

Many times I myself bought things for no particular reason other than, I just felt like it. Why I felt like it? I had no idea. All I knew is that something (add text, packaging, shape or color of the product....) put me under a spell to buy it.

Once I virtually stalked one guy into selling me a piece of garbage, corroded to the last nut 94 Nissan Maxima. Once I saw it, I became obsessed with buying it. I spent more time fixing that car than driving it.

Only later I came to realize that the sole reason for me getting that 2-ton monument to my stupidity was :
" I my last year in high school I had a crush on a girl in my class. She was the most beautiful girl in the world for me. I was afraid to even look her way, forget about talking to her. One day I gathered all of my inner strength and actually asked her out. After she told me that she is seeing out with somebody I watched he walk across the street and get into the, you guessed it, black Nissan Maxima. Two weeks passed, I forgot all about that girl and found a new love of my next 1 month, but that long forgotten feeling which I had that mourning, hid somewhere in the dark tunnels of my memory only to surface when I had a chance to buy similar car."

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