Consuming caffeine before shopping leads to more spending; Study

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Researchers from the University of South Florida, European University Viadrina, Louisiana State University, SKEMA Business School, and Neoma Business School have published a new Journal of Marketing article that examines how caffeine affects consumer spending.

These researchers said that understanding how and why caffeine consumption influences spending is important since caffeine is one of the most powerful stimulants that is both legal and widely available.

About 85 percent of Americans consume at least one caffeinated beverage every day with coffee being the primary source of caffeine, followed by tea and soda. Caffeine is also found in energy drinks, chocolate, and many over-the-counter and prescription medications.

The study finds that drinking a caffeinated beverage before shopping leads to more items purchased at the store and increased spending. It also shows that the effect of caffeine is stronger for “high hedonic” products such as scented candles, fragrances, décor items, and massagers and weaker for “low hedonic” products such as notebooks, kitchen utensils, and storage baskets.

Prior research has shown that consuming caffeine in the range of 25 mg to 200 mg enhances energetic arousal with practically no effects on tense arousal. This study examines the effects of caffeine intake in the range of about 30 mg to 100 mg since most caffeinated beverage servings have caffeine content in this range.

“Overall, retailers can benefit financially if shoppers consume caffeine before or during shopping and the effects are stronger for high hedonic products. This is important for retailers to factor in to determine the proportion of hedonic products in their stores. Policymakers may also want to inform consumers about the potential effects of caffeine on spending,” concluded the researchers.

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