Millennial and Gen Z shoppers love a sale, but bargain FOMO drives impulse spending

author-avatar By on June 10, 2021
Millennial and Gen Z shoppers love a sale, but bargain FOMO drives impulse spending

A study has found Aussie millennial and Gen Z shoppers are bucking the trend of being reckless spenders, but admit to feeling sales FOMO.

PayPal has released its EOFY Sales Trends Report 2021 which reveals Australia's younger shoppers are becoming savvier with their money, but are still treating themselves to impulse buys and spending sprees during sales season. 

According to the report, 63% of millennials and 80% of Gen Z said they always look for sales or discounts.

More than half (55%) of millennials and 61% of Gen Z said they have waited until an item went on sale before buying it online. 

"Everyone loves getting a good deal and it's great to see how Aussie millennials are becoming increasingly savvy in scouting out discounts when they shop," PayPal's Consumer Shopping Expert Jessica Rix said.

"As the sales cycle gets busier than ever, we're seeing more millennial shoppers looking for deals to make their dollars go further.

"On the flipside, this means millennial shoppers can be reluctant to spend outside of sales season - we found over a quarter (27%) saying they only shop when items are on sale or discounted with only one-in-ten (10%) saying they don't care whether items are on sale or not."

The report found millennials are the most likely to have purchased an item at full price, returned it and purchased it at a lower price when it went on sale (17% of millennials vs the national average of 10%).

But it's not just the young-uns who love a good bargain: over half of Australians surveyed said they "hate buying at full price". 

Two-in-five Aussies (40%) even admitted to researching online prices on their phones while shopping in-store to make sure they're getting the best deal.

Sales FOMO drives impulse spending

The report found that one-in-five millennials (21%) admit to feeling sales FOMO, saying they feel like they're "losing money" if they don't buy an item they want on sale. 

About the same number (19%) of millennials admit to being "addicted" to shopping the sales.

Despite becoming savvier with stretching their dollars, millennials stand out as the nation's biggest impulse spenders.

According to the report, the average millennial shopper bought 3.4 unplanned items at a cost of $197 over the last three months.

That's 60% more purchases and $87 more than what the average Aussie shopper spent in impulse buys.

Impulse spending usually leads to regret too, with the report finding younger shoppers are the most likely to experience sale-driven buyer's remorse.

Over a third of millennial shoppers (34%) said they feel regret after making a sales-driven purchase, compared with the national average of 24%. 

Additionally, almost two-in-five millennials (37%) said they had bought an item that they didn't need just because it was on sale. 

Related: How to stop impulse spending

Tips to shop the sales

To avoid making a FOMO driven sales purchase, Ms Rix said it's important not to get carried away.

"It is important to plan and keep a cool head going in," Ms Rix said.

"Sales are a great time to buy what you need or try something new, as long as you are spending within your means and love your new purchases."

To get the most out of sales, here are some of her top tips:

  1. Shop with a budget and plan your purchases: give yourself a budget before you embark on a shopping spree and consider the items you really need or want. Make a list and do your best to stick with it. It’s not a bargain if you’re never going to use it.
  2. Do your research and compare prices: check that you are getting a good price for your purchase and make use of the internet to research the deals around.
  3. Make use of discount coupons: look for discount codes and coupons, which can help you save even more or take the sting out of hefty shipping costs. Honey, for instance, automatically searches for discount codes and applies them to your cart at various retailers.
  4. Check the returns policy: avoid ‘buyer’s remorse’ and give yourself a way out – shop with retailers where you can be assured of a decent returns policy. Paying with PayPal lets you access free return shipping* if you aren’t satisfied with your buy, and you may also be eligible for our Buyer Protection if the product fails to arrive.
  5. Stay safe while shopping: shop with reputable merchants and be cautious in sharing your payment information at checkout.

Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

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Emma Duffy is Assistant Editor at Your Mortgage and  Your Investment Property Mag, which are part of the Savings Media Group. In this role, she manages a team of journalists and expert contributors committed to keeping readers informed about the latest home loan and finance news and trends, as well as providing in-depth property guides. She is also a finance journalist at Savings.com.au which she joined shortly after its launch in early 2019. Emma has a Bachelor in Journalism and has been published in several other publications and been featured on radio.

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