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Urge to splurge: Australians spending $47 billion a year on impulse purchases

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Impulse purchases are costing people thousands of dollars every year, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,071 respondents found the average Australian splurges $44 a week on impulse purchases – $915 million nationwide every 7 days.

That's the equivalent of $2,278 a year – $47.5 billion nationwide – spent on everything from chocolate at the checkout to beauty products promoted by an influencer on social media.

The research found young Australians are the biggest culprits, with gen Z spending $74 a week on impulse purchases, compared to just $9 by baby boomers.

Whether it's fixed budgets or financial wisdom, just 1 in 3 (33%) baby boomers are making any impulse purchases at all compared to 4 in 5 (81%) gen Z.

Rebecca Pike, money expert at Finder, said impulsive spending can lead to financial harm.

"While it's often associated with smaller purchases like sweet snacks and drinks, impulse buying can also be seen in big-ticket items like a last-minute holiday or designer gear.

"When times are tough, some people tend to 'treat' themselves more as a way to lift their spirits.

"But this habit can become a headache, especially if they are living beyond their means."

Pike said the uptake of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) could be linked to the trend.

Finder data shows 2 in 5 (40%) Australians have used a BNPL service in the past 6 months.

"BNPL is offered by virtually every retailer now and makes out-of-reach purchases seem affordable.

"Keeping on top of payments can become a struggle, especially if consumers are juggling several at once and it can become a house of cards.

"Our research shows that frequent BNPL users prioritise these payments over things like energy bills and even eating to keep this line of credit open."

Finder's data reveals that women find it harder to resist an impulse buy, splashing out $48 a week on average compared to $40 by men.

Pike said becoming aware of your impulse purchasing tendencies can help save you money.

"Track your day-to-day spending habits at least for a few months to uncover impulse spending.

"Then create a budget for these purchases. Can you afford it without relying on debt? If not, you need to scale back."

How much do you spend on impulse purchases every week?
Gen Z$74
Gen Y$68
Gen X$27
Baby Boomer$9
Source: Finder survey of 1,071 respondents, April 2024


  • Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a monthly recurring nationally representative survey of more than 60,000 respondents.
  • Figures in this release are based on 1,071 respondents from April 2024.
  • The Consumer Sentiment Tracker is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.
  • The survey has been running monthly since May 2019.

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