You are on page 1of 21




Submitted To:
Sir. Anis Hassaan Zuberi
Instructor: Consumer Behavior

Submitted by:
Qurat-ul-ain Riaz (06-146)
Sidra Tanveer (06-228)
Mehreen Raza (06-419)
Najma Javed (06-013)

Submitted on:

April 29th, 2008

Table of Contents
Contents Page

Introduction ……………………………………………………………4

Literature review …………………………………………………………5

Management problem …………………………………………………….8

Hypotheses ………………………………………………………………..9

Research design …………………………………………………………...10

Sampling plan ……………………………………………………………..11

Limitations ………………………………………………………………12

Results …………………………………………………………………….13

Conclusion & Recommendations………………………………………………..17

Questionnaire ……………………………………………………………...18


Pakistan is a growing economy with a real GDP growth rate of 5%. The real private consumption
expenditure has grown at an average rate of 7.4 percent per annum during the last four years
resulting in the emergence of a strong middle class with growing purchasing power. This has
resulted in people vying for a more comfortable and urbanized lifestyle. The mushroom growth of
coffee houses, eateries, supermarkets, etc., is a proof of that.

In the past three decades, much research has been conducted internationally to define to understand
the psychological, economic and retail implications of such a trend. One area of interest has been
“impulse buying”. Impulse buying occurs when a consumer experiences a sudden, often powerful
and persistent urge to buy something immediately. The impulse to buy is hedonically complex and
may stimulate emotional conflict. Also, impulse buying is prone to occur with diminished regard for
its consequences.Marketers and retailers tend to exploit these impulses which are tied to the basic
need for instant gratification.

Recently several supermarkets have been established in the urban cities of Pakistan. The most
prominent ones in Karachi are Imitiaz, Agha’s, EBCO, Naheed, Shaz & DMart.

Literature Review

Pakistan: The Research Context

According to the Economic Survey (2006-07), the real GDP growth rate of Pakistan has been 7%
per annum in the last 5 years and the per capita income has grown by 11% to $ 925. The real private
consumption expenditure has grown at an average rate of 7.4 percent per annum during the last four
years resulting in the emergence of a strong middle class with growing purchasing power and with
increase in the working population and simultaneous decrease in the share of dependent population
has declined, the disposable incomes and current consumption has increased. This increase in
consumer spending has led to more shopping and consequently has justified a research into the
incidence and nature of impulse purchases. Also, with changing demographic trends, gender roles in
purchase behavior have changed considerably in urban Pakistan with women being more active in
shopping now.

Most of the researches on impulse buying behavior have been conducted in the Western society
which is considerably more advanced than Pakistan. The objective of this research is to explore the
incidence of and difference of impulse buying behavior at Naheed Super Store, with respect to
factors such as product category, grocery bill and number of products bought, and the shopper’s

Conceptual Framework
Cobb and Hoyer and Kollat and Willet have defined impulse buying simply as unplanned
purchasing. Rook (1987) gave a narrow and more specific meaning to impulse buying, which
included behavioral elements. The definition of impulse is as follows
“Impulse buying occurs when a consumer experiences a sudden, often powerful and
persistent urge to buy something immediately. The impulse to buy is hedonically complex
and may stimulate emotional conflict. Also, impulse buying is prone to occur with
diminished regard for its consequences.”

The understanding of impulse purchasing was greatly improved through Stern's identification of
four distinct classifications of impulse purchasing: planned, pure, reminder and suggestion impulse
purchasing. The four categories are as follows:
(1) Pure impulse buying is a novelty or escape purchasing which breaks a normal buying pattern;
(2) Reminder impulse buying occurs when a shopper sees an item and remembers that the stock at
home is exhausted or low or recalls an advertisement or other information about the item and a
previous decision to buy;
(3) Suggestion impulse buying occurs when a shopper sees a product for the first time and
visualizes a need for it, even though he has no previous knowledge of it; and
(4) Planned impulse buying occurs when a shopper enters the store with some specific purchases in
mind, but with the expectation and intention to make purchases that depend on price specials,
coupon offers, and the like.

Conceptual Definition
Impulse buying is defined as a buying action undertaken without the problem having been
previously recognized or a buying intention formed prior to entering the store

Operational Definition
Based on the literature review we plan to follow the following definition for the purpose of our

Shoppers are asked upon exiting the store what items they purchased. For each item, they are then
asked some variant of the question when they decided to buy; before or after entering the store. The
items purchased whose decisions were made after entering the store are impulse purchases
(Bellenger, Robertson, and Hirschman).

Factors Affecting Impulse Buying Behavior

Many researches have been carried out to study the nature of impulse buying and various factors
that affect it. Impulse buying is influenced by a variety of economic, situational, personality, time,
location and even cultural factors. Researches have also been conducted to understand the
underlying motivational factors behind impulse buying. Similarly researches have been conducted

to study factors that moderate impulse buying behavior. Consumers engage in impulse buying to
satisfy hedonic desires for fun, novelty and variety; also impulsiveness is correlated with
consumer’s desires to fulfill self esteem and self actualization needs

Gender Differences in Impulse buying

Several previous researches on impulse buying have paid some attention to the role gender plays in
determining this behavior. These researches show that men’s and women’s shopping behavior
differs on many levels.
Kollat and Willet (1967) found that women tend to engage in more impulse buying as compared to
men. It is also argued that women because of their propensity to shop more in general, make more
impulsive purchases.

Transaction Size affecting Impulse Buying

Kollat and Willet (1967) used two measures of transaction size: number of different products
purchased and the grocery bill. They found out that the increase in size of the grocery bill and
number of purchases made resulted in an increase in unplanned impulse purchases. Therefore, we
offer the following proposition.

Shopping List and Impulse buying

Studies conducted by Kollat and Willet (1967) indicated that one of the factors that affects impulse
buying is the presence of a shopping list. This however only holds true if the transaction size is
greater than 15. When more than 15 or 20 products are purchased, shoppers having a list make a
smaller percentage of unplanned purchases. However, when less than 15 or 20 products are bought,
the shopping list does not affect the percentage of unplanned purchases. In order to study the effects
on the presence of a shopping list on impulse purchase behavhior, we present the following

Management Problem translated into Research

Research Research Research

Problem Questions Objectives
 To study the  What is the  To study the incidence of
incidence of incidence of impulse impulse buying in
impulse purchase in Naheed supermarkets of Karachi.
purchase Super Store?
decisions with
respect to five  How does incidence  To study whether
factors. impulse buying vary purchase intentions are
due to the presence influenced by factors such
of a shopping list? as the gender of the
shopper, presence of a
 Does increase in the shopping list, the number
size of grocery bill of products purchased and
increase the the size of the grocery
incidence of impulse bill.
purchase decisions?

 Does impulse buying

increase as the
number of products
purchase increase?

 Is the incidence of
impulse buying
higher among males
than females?


Based on our discussion & literature review, we arrived at the following hypotheses which we
would be testing.

Hypothesis 1: There is at most 20% incidence of impulse buying in Naheed Super Store.

Hypothesis 2: There is association between gender and impulse buying behavior.

Hypothesis 3: Rate of Impulse buying increases with the size of the bill.

Hypothesis 4: Rate of Impulse buying increases with the number of different products bought.

Hypothesis 5: There is association between presence of shopping list & impulse buying behavior.

- 10 -
Research Design

Type of research
The research was of exploratory nature and involved conducting interviews of shopper leaving
supermarkets to crystallize and better understand the problem at hand and a few factors that affect

Data Collection Method

Secondary Data
Articles on impulse buying were studied.

Primary Data
We collected information from the subjects by means of a survey. Furthermore the major technique
that we used to approach our subjects was the intercept technique i.e. approaching them without
prior notification or appointment. Personal intercept interviews were used to collect information in
a face to face situation. The survey was conducted at Naheed Super Store.

Measurement Technique
A questionnaire was designed by the researchers to be administered during the personal interview.
Care was taken to avoid loaded, double barreled, biased questions.

- 11 -
Sampling Plan

Population Definition
Men and women of age 18 and above who have shopped at Naheed Super Store in April, during
day time.

Sampling Frame
Naheed was selected to conduct the research.

Sampling Unit
One shopping party.

Sampling Method
Non-probability convenience sampling - any shopping party leaving the Super store after making
some purchases.

Sample Size
Total sampling size of 80.

Sampling Plan
The four researchers were spilt into two interviewing teams. One of the two interviewers was
stationed at the super market exit to select a shopping party leaving the super market after making
some purchases. The respondent was qualified by determining whether they were carrying any
shopping packages and their willingness to participate in the research. After introduction the second
researcher administered the questionnaire through a personal interview. The questionnaire was
completed and filled by the researcher herself. The interview was terminated by thanking the
respondents for their participation.

- 12 -

1. People in our country are not very used to research hence they were not very receptive or
did not know how to respond to certain questions.
2. As students, the researchers had limited amount of resources (time, money, etc) to spend on
this research.
3. This research has been conducted only in one supermarket (Naheed) the findings cannot be
extended to all the supermarkets in Karachi. Hence the findings are only applicable to
4. This research focuses on the incidence of impulse buying and a few factors affecting it such
as gender of the shopper, size of the shopping bill, presence of a shopping list and the
number of items purchased. This does not suggest that these are the only factors that
influence impulse buying decisions.
5. Some other influencing factors such as in-store stimuli (communication mix, shelf
placement), consumer traits other than gender, situational factors (mood, time, money) and
normative traits of decision making have not been studied. Hence, the findings of this study
cannot be extended to those areas.

- 13 -

Hypothesis 1: Incidence of Impulse buying

Our results showed that the incidence of impulse buying is significantly greater than 20%.

Hypothesis 2: Association of Unplanned Purchases with Gender

Male Female Total
Impulse 13 36 49
Planned 21 10 31
Total 34 46 80

Table 1

This table indicates that men plan well ahead before entering shopping markets than females. They
economize on their time and efforts and stick to their needs and decisions. Females do not plan
extensively before entering and are more inclined to be attracted to in-store stimuli.

F / Pl M / Im
13% 16%

M / Pl

F / Im

Figure 1

Kollat and Willet, women purchase a higher percentage of products on an unplanned basis because
they make more purchases. When the number of purchases is held constant, men and women have
the same degree of susceptibility to unplanned purchasing. However, our analysis indicates that in
Naheed Super Store, the number of products purchased by respondents has no affect on impulse

- 14 -
buying tendency. Thus, the impulsive behavior in our research can be attributed to solely to gender.
Women are more susceptible to engage in impulsive behavior in supermarkets.

Hypothesis 3: Shopping bill and impulse buying behavior

Shopping bill is also a measure of transaction size. The Figure 2 depicts that there is no relationship
between unplanned purchasing and shopping bill.

Relationship between Shopping Bill & Percentage of

Unplanned Purchases
Percentage of Unplanned




0-500 501-1000 1001- 1501- 2001- 2501- 3001- Over
1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 3501

Shopping Bill (Rs)

Figure 2

This is line with our findings relating to the number of products purchased in which we found no
correlation between the number of products and the impulse buying behavior. Generally we can
conclude that people who buy more will have more shopping bill and will be engaging in less
impulse buying.

Hypothesis 4: Number of Products bought and Impulse buying

The percentage of unplanned purchases has no significant correlation with the number of different
products bought by shoppers in Naheed Super Store.

Our findings show that as the number of different products a customer intends to purchase
increases, the difference between actual and intended purchase decisions do not vary. Even though
the greater the number of products purchased, the greater the exposure to in-store stimuli but the
number of products bought on impulse do not increase. Hence, we conclude, that in instances

- 15 -
where customers shop for a larger number of items they plan well ahead and there are little chances
of impulse buying. This can be because as customers plan for larger items they try to economize on
their time and effort – hence little or no impulse purchases. However, when customers shop for a
few needed items or engage in random shopping, they are more inclined to engage in impulse

Hypothesis 5: Shopping list and Impulse buying Behavior

We found no significant association between the two variables. We interpret that the shopping list
contains only basic items and when people enter the super market they engage in impulse buying.
Hence we conclude that the tendency of a consumer to engage in impulse buying has no association
with the shopping list.
Also from the Table 2 we can conclude that majority of the people do not carry shopping list with
them (44%) or carry it only sometimes (35%). This shows there is natural tendency amongst
shoppers not to carry shopping lists with them.

No Shopping
Shopping list List
Planned 12 20 32
Unplanned 11 37 48
23 57 80

Table 2

List / Im
No List / Pl

List / Pl
15% No List / Im

Figure 4

- 16 -
Kollat and Willet (1967) found that a shopping list influence purchases when more than 15 products
are purchased. In our study, amongst those respondents who did buy more than 15 products only
44% could be categorized as impulse buyers and 42 % of these were carrying a shopping list. From
this we can conclude no effect as such of shopping list on the rate of impulse buying even when
large number of different products is bought.

- 17 -
Conclusion and Recommendations

Our research shows that impulse buying is a phenomenon common amongst the female shoppers in
Karachi. This can be because usually women buy for the whole family, not only for themselves. So
as they shop they are reminded of the items needed by others as they come across the products in
store and thus buy them. Also women generally have greater time on hand to do shopping as
compared to men; hence increasing their tendency to engage in impulse buying. This has important
implications for the in-store placement of products. Products with which women can be attracted to
buy on impulse, such as frozen food, spices and other household & food items, should be
prominently displayed in-store so as to generate impulse purchases.

The impact of presence of shopping list, size of the shopping bill and number of products purchased
was found to be insignificant. Even the people carrying a shopping list engaged in impulse
purchases. This can be because most of the items on the shopping list were collective use items or
those needed by other people whereas personal use items were bought on impulse. Some of the
people were carrying shopping lists made by someone else (who was not in the shopping party)
such as the chef, mother-in-laws and spouses.

The bill size and the number of items purchased are two measures to define the transaction size.
Overall, both of them turned out to have no significant correlation with impulse buying. This shows
that people who come to make large number of purchases plan their shopping beforehand and hence
engage in less impulse buying. This maybe because they have already spent so much time spending
what they had planned to buy, that there is little time left to make other unplanned purchases.

We found high incidence of impulse buying in snacks and confectionaries. This maybe because they
are placed near the counter or at visible places in the Supermarket so as to attract people to buy
them. We also found frozen food to be one of the recurring items on the list of unplanned products
by the respondents. These incidences of impulse buying maybe because the deep freezers with
transparent doors carrying the frozen food items are placed right at the entrance of most of the
superstores, hence catching people’s attention as they enter or about to leave the store. Thus the
importance of in-store stimuli can be inferred from our study as we did not specifically test for their
significance. This can be the topic of future researches.

- 18 -

This questionnaire is for an academic research paper designed to assess consumer buying behavior
at superstores. Your information will be kept confidential and the responses will be aggregated for
analysis. We appreciate your participation.

Name: _________________________________________________________________
Age: 21-29 30-39 40-49 50-65
Gender: Male Female
Area of residence: _______________________________________________________
Household Income: ______________________________________________________

1. How often do you go shopping?

• Twice a week
• Weekly
• Twice a month
• Monthly

2. What did you come to buy today? (Please tick one)

• Monthly ration
• Weekly grocery
• A few needed items
• Random shopping

3. Do you usually carry a shopping list?

• Never
• Sometimes
• Always

4. Are you carrying a shopping list today?

• Yes
• No

- 19 -
5. Did you stick to your shopping list?

• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree

6. How many items did you buy today?

7. How many of these items had you planned to buy before entering the store?

• 1-5
• 6-10
• 11-15
• 16-20
• 21-25
• 26-30
• 31-35
• 36-40
• 41+

8. Did you buy something that you had not planned on buying?

• Yes (if yes answer the next question)

• No

9. If yes, please give the name of the products?

10. Among the 3 product categories, did you buy something that you had not planned on

Product name Quantity Price

Snack food

- 20 -
11. What is the approximate size of your bill?

- 21 -