Why having a coffee before shopping may cause you to spend more cash

goss 29/06/2022

Walking around the mall can be a pretty big task, and we’re all guilty of treating ourselves to a little caffeine fix to get us through.

But be careful next time you shop because research has found that a cheeky coffee stop before a big shop could be the reason for your impulsive shopping habit.

takeaway coffee cup

An international study led by the University of South Florida set up a pop-up cafe at the entrances of stores in France and Spain, offering over 300 shoppers either a coffee, decaf, or water.

Roughly half of the shoppers ordered a coffee that contained about 100 mg of caffeine and the others went for the safe option of decaf or water.

As the shoppers left the stores, they shared the receipts with the researchers, who found a crazy difference between their purchases.

The results found that shoppers who opted for the caffeine ended up spending 50 per cent more and bought an extra 30 per cent more items than those who chose the decaf options.


Dipayan Biswas, the study's lead author, explains that “caffeine intake leads to shopping impulsivity in terms of a higher number of items purchased and greater spending".

Caffeine, as a powerful stimulant, releases dopamine in the brain, which excites the mind and the body.

He continued: “This leads to a higher energetic state, which enhances impulsivity and decreases self-control.” 

Shopping bags

Caffeine consumption also swayed the types of items people bought. 

Coffee drinkers spent more money on non-essentials like candles and perfumes (sounds familiar). 

Non-caffeinated shoppers, on the other hand, stuck to the items they had their sights set on when they entered the store.

With this in mind, we might opt for decaf next time we whip out the credit card.