Why it's not a good idea to drink coffee before going shopping

·1-min read

Many of us stop for a cup of coffee before heading out for a day of shopping or errands.

But according to a new study, picking up that cup of Joe may not be the best idea - especially if you are trying to save money.

Researchers from a variety of institutions, including the University of South Florida and Louisiana State University, have collaborated on the study and reported that "drinking a caffeinated beverage before shopping leads to more items purchased at the store and increased spending".

They claimed the effect of caffeine is stronger for "high hedonic" products, such as scented candles, fragrances, and décor items, and weaker for "low hedonic" products like notebooks, kitchen utensils, and storage baskets.

As part of the study, the team set up an espresso station near the entrance of two different retail stores in two major cities in France and outside a department store in Spain.

Upon entry, half of the 300 shoppers were handed a complimentary cup of coffee containing caffeine and the other half offered decaf or water.

"We found that the caffeine group spent significantly more money and bought a higher number of items than those who drank decaf or water," the authors reported. "Overall, retailers can benefit financially if shoppers consume caffeine before or during shopping and that 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."

Full results have been published in the Journal of Marketing.

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