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Millennials, Gen Z regret their social media impulse purchases

Millennials, Gen Z regret their social media impulse purchases


Shopping while scrolling has likely hit even the strongest (or most frugal) of us at one point. Whether we’re asking if every chair within a 1-mile radius on Facebook Marketplace is “still available,” snagging those earrings that looked cute on some influencer, or buying slime as an adult, the online shopping bug finds us all in some form or another—hitting younger audiences especially hard.

The generations who grew up a bit more plugged in find themselves most vulnerable to the pull of online shopping. The majority of Gen Zers (60%) and millennials (61%) admit to impulse shopping because of social media in the past year, according to a new Bankrate survey that polled more than 3,500 people. Older generations aren’t immune to the siren’s call of the latest advertised gadget or novelty poster either, but say they’re less affected by it; 42% of Gen Xers and 34% of baby boomers admitted to impulse shopping online this year. 

“Young adults are especially likely to be swayed by experiences,” Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman tells Fortune. “While we didn’t specifically ask about the types of impulse purchases respondents made, I suspect experiences such as travel, dining, concert tickets, and sporting events were key contributors,” he says, adding that he suspects clothing and related-spending for events like weddings and parties also played a role. 

While no one seems to be alone in their impulse purchases, many shoppers are regretting their split-second choices. But it’s those who impulse shop the least—and who spend the least—who are most likely to have buyer’s remorse: Boomers, who spend an average $418 a year on social-media impulse purchases, at 62%. Meanwhile, millennials spend the most at $1,016, but are the least regretful (55%). Gen Z spends the next highest amount—$844—but is more regretful than millennials (58%).

Impulse spending weighs everyone down

This isn’t the first time younger generations have opened up about feeling extra financial pressure from their social feeds. More than half of Gen Zers and almost as many millennials admitted that social media encourages them to buy things they can’t afford, according to Deloitte’s 12th annual 2023 Gen Z and Millennial survey. That’s despite reporting high financial anxiety and concerns about today’s cost of living. 

These impulse purchases could be part of the treat culture younger generations have developed in order to…

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