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Impulsive vs. Compulsive Purchasing in Digital World


Impulse and compulsive buying are two expressions that are often misunderstood. However, they exemplify diversified actions in terms of their cause, rate of recurrence and results. Impulsive purchasing is a conventional behavior amongst countless individuals and is more common than compulsive acquisitions. Practically speaking, nearly every person has been a victim of impulse buying at one time. The essay aims at exploring the above two activities, as well as outlining the distinction between them. Finally, a discourse on ways utilized by firms to promote impulsive buying is delineated.

Impulse Purchasing

Impulsive buying is basically described as a prompt and strong craving for a consumer to acquire a product or service instantaneously. The urge is compelled when the yearning outweighs the self-control of the consumer to resist the item for acquisition (Pradhan et al., 2018). The conduct of the victims often induces the degree of vulnerability towards impulse purchases. These behavioral characteristics include personality features, mood conditions and situational aspects as possible resources depletion, proximity to products and the willpower of the person.

Compulsive Purchasing

Compulsive procuring can be termed as a psychological condition associated with the development of an intense desire by a consumer to buy. Remarkably, failure to take immediate action on this craving results in intensified anxieties, which can only be dispelled by undertaking the buying. This adverse desire amongst the compulsive buyers is often elicited by undesirable emotions and incidences, such as intensified levels of disquiet and depression, as well as lowered self-esteem (Pradhan et al., 2018). Indeed, most of these shoppers have had individual or family accounts on deleterious conducts such as substance abuse and alcoholism. Frequently, the purchasers undertake the buying as a temporary relief from the bad moods rather than the existence of the need for the commodity, thus, end up not using or consuming the bought goods.

Encouraging Impulse Buying in the Digital World

The internet retailing amongst businesses has experienced exponential growth, thus, resulting in a fiercely competitive environment. Consequently, firms are necessitated to work round the clock to boost their sales. The approaches employed include devising techniques to influence impulse purchases. A case study of Amazon, a US business dealing in e-commerce, digital streaming and cloud computing, clearly delineates some of the ways utilized to stimulate online impulse shopping.

The firm offers a discount on sales where the products are pegged on tickers and countdowns and sometimes provision of free shipping services. This creates the impression of urgency on the customers, making them develop the notion that the commodity is likely to be unavailable after the lapse of the period. Subsequently, the shoppers end up making impulse purchases to avoid missing the prevailing deal.

Additionally, the website is optimized for access by all prospective customers, including mobile devices users. Noteworthy, the site offers interactive displays of products to the consumer with the anticipated product augmentation in an ideal environment, which traps the client to initiate purchases. The firm has also made use of social media platforms to maximize their impulse selling from their immense number of followers. Finally, the company also employs the product-oriented sponsored adverts powered on various websites to attract more impulse buyers. The model exploits the social campaign attributes which recommend merchandise and brands to potential consumers based on reviews from other purchasers of similar items.


The article has tried highlighting the distinction between impulsive and compulsive purchasing behaviors. The imminent difference between them has been attributed to the concept that impulsive buying is occasioned by ordinary behavior, while compulsive buying is linked to psychological disorders. Nevertheless, both scenarios result in negative financial implications amongst the buyers. Finally, several tools that are used to promote impulsive buying in digital markets have been discussed.


Pradhan, D., Israel, D., & Jena, A. (2018). Materialism and compulsive buying behaviour. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 30(5), 1239-1258. Web.

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StudyKraken. "Impulsive vs. Compulsive Purchasing in Digital World." August 31, 2022.


StudyKraken. 2022. "Impulsive vs. Compulsive Purchasing in Digital World." August 31, 2022.


StudyKraken. (2022) 'Impulsive vs. Compulsive Purchasing in Digital World'. 31 August.

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