A new CNBC and Acorns study finds that while nearly 90% of both men and women sometimes make impulse purchases, nearly a quarter of men said they shelled out more than $100 the last time they made an impulse buy, compared to just 16% of women.
The Invest in You Spending Survey was conducted by CNBC and Acorns in partnership with SurveyMonkey from June 17–20. A diverse group of 2,803 Americans were polled across the country, ranging in ages from 18 to over 65. Of the total, 1,320 were men and 1,498 had a college or graduate degree.
“The stereotype of women as impulsive in their purchase decisions is an inaccurate one,” says Ross Steinman, co-chair and professor in the psychology department at Widener University. “Impulse purchases are a result of consumer personality characteristics as well as a strategic placement of enticing stimuli in the shopping environment.”
A small, occasional splurge is OK, but when impulse purchases turn into mindless spending, or when the impulse purchases are big-ticket items derailing your financial security, it’s important to evaluate what’s driving that behavior. Often, impulse purchases are a form of emotional spending, experts say.
The emotions associated with different people’s spending vary. One person might spend to cheer themselves up after a bad day, while another might spend to celebrate a milestone. Regardless of the reasons for spending — or the gender of the spender — it’s possible to curb the habit.