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TikTok made me buy it: 8 million Aussies admit to impulse spending

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Social media has enticed millions of Australians to make impulse purchases which many have later regretted, according to new research by Finder.

A nationally representative survey of 1,054 respondents revealed 2 in 5 (40%) Australians – equivalent to 8 million people – have made an impulse purchase of a product they've seen on social media.

Almost a third (28%) say they regret making at least one of the impulse purchases.

Younger Australians are much more likely to be influenced by social media – a whopping 70% of gen Z and 59% of millennials confess to impulsive spending. That's compared to just 12% of baby boomers and 23% of gen X.

Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, said the impact of social media on Australian spending habits is significant.

"Whether you're scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, ads are becoming more targeted and strategic, making it that much easier to splash out on things you don't really need.

"The so-called 'highlight reel' often entices people to keep up with those around them, which can contribute to unplanned spending."

Finder's research shows the majority of those who made a spontaneous purchase did so because it seemed like something they'd use (56%), while almost 1 in 4 (24%) purchased an item to keep up with trends or friends.

The survey found 1 in 5 (21%) bought a product purely for the aesthetic, and 20% purchased something because they followed or liked the person who promoted it.

Less than 1 in 5 (17%) bought something because they genuinely needed it, while 15% admit they wanted to "show off" on their socials.

Megginson said there's nothing wrong with treating yourself, as long as it doesn't break the bank.

"Before reaching for your wallet, think about whether it's something you really, genuinely want or need. One trick is to screenshot it then set aside the decision for 24 or 48 hours.

"If you still want it after thinking about it for a couple of days, then you know it's a genuine purchase and you're not just adding to cart to get that quick dopamine high you get from an instant purchase."

The research shows just 12% of consumers have no regrets about their social media inspired spending.

Have you ever made an impulse purchase of a product you saw on social media?
Yes, and I have regretted at least one28%
Yes, and I have not regretted any12%
Source: Finder survey of 1,054 respondents, October 2022
What was the reason for your impulse purchase?
It seemed like something I'd use56%
For the aesthetic21%
I follow / like the person who promoted it20%
I needed it17%
To show it off on my socials15%
To keep up with the trends14%
To keep up with friends10%
None of the above5%
Source: Finder survey of 419 respondents who responded 'yes' to impulse buying, October 2022
*Respondents could select all that apply
What products have you been influenced to buy on social media?
Sporting equipment20%
Kitchen appliances18%
Gaming and tech items18%
None of the above10%
Source: Finder survey of 419 respondents who responded 'yes' to impulse buying, October 2022
*Respondents could select all that apply

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