Mobile shopping drives surge in impulse buys among millennials

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Mobile technology is helping younger shoppers to spend an average £3,736 a year on impulse buys - 50% more than cautious over-55s, a survey suggests.

So-called millennials - those aged 18 to 34 - are embracing a 'have it now' spending culture with the use of fast and convenient apps, mobile services and payment methods, the poll for VoucherCodes.co.uk found.

Their average spend of £3,736 per year on impulse purchases is 50% less than the £1,869 spent by over-55s.

More than a quarter of younger shoppers (27%) say they spend impulsively at least once a week compared with 5% of over-55s.

Younger consumers spend an average of £546 a year on dining and drinking out compared with £414 spent by over-55s.

This is followed by clothes and shoes (£487), flights and holidays (£484), technology and appliances (£446) and beauty and grooming products (£386).

Two thirds (66%) say they are more likely to shop spontaneously when retailers offer mobile-friendly websites, apps and pop-up notifications as well as fast delivery.

The survey also found that 13% of millennials make impulse purchases to show them off on social media sites such as Instagram, or to keep up with friends and family compared with 2% of over-55s.

VoucherCodes managing director Claire Davenport said: "We've seen a real surge in retailers offering faster, easier and more convenient products and services over recent years, with fibre optic broadband and the mass adoption of mobile devices accelerating this trend.

"As a result, millennials are the generation that have grown up with mobile technology and are therefore naturally demanding things more instantly, making speedy impulse purchases on everything from flights abroad to designer clothes and accessories, occasionally getting into debt in the process.

"While this new level of convenience and service is fantastic for us as customers, and is clearly changing the way we shop, it can also make it a lot easier to spend more than we perhaps otherwise would, so it's important to always be mindful of your bank balance before committing to a purchase."

:: Opinium surveyed 2,002 UK adults between April 1-4.