Americans spend $71 billion on social media impulse buys

Online shopping
Photo credit lucadp/GettyImages

Over the last decade, the explosion of social media has taken the world by storm. And it's also really driving the economy.

According to numbers from Bankrate, American adults have spent $71 billion on social media impulse buys.

As one might imagine, younger consumers are leading the charge.

"We see 53% of millennial social media users and 51% of Gen Zers making one of these social media inspired impulse buys over the past year. It's only about a third of Gen Xers and only about a quarter of boomers who use social media,"  says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.

But here's the deal, with 48% of social media members reporting they've impulsively spent based on an ad in the last year, way more than half of those (68%) say they regret at least one of those buys.

"Be thoughtful about what you're spending. Make sure it's something you really want or need, and hopefully you're not going into credit card debt for it," Rossman says. "But also maybe build this into your budget."

According to the study, Americans spend an average of $754 per year impulsively buying products they see on social media.

"I mean, if you know this is the kind of thing that you're going to see an outfit or a meal out or a trip or whatever it is on social media, and you're going to want to do that, don't let that be a surprise. Make sure you build that into your monthly budget," Rossman suggests.

Men and younger adults tend to splurge more on their impulsive buys influenced by social media. In the past year, male impulsive shoppers dished out an average of $999 on their purchases, almost double the amount spent by women, who averaged $518.

Ted points out that it's not that you can't have any fun or splurge on online purchases. But being thoughtful about it is important.

"One other idea is not to save your credit or debit card information on retail websites because that one click buy is just too tempting," Rossman says. "You can at least insert a little bit of friction into the process by having to find your card and type in the number, that might stop you from buying something you would later regret."

Also, Ted says, give yourself some time to consider whether you really need a product.

"I think the 24 hour rule could work," Rossman says. "Wait a day, sleep on it, see if you still really want that thing the next day. Sometimes people even extend that and they say you should wait a day for every $100 the item costs."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: lucadp/GettyImages