Retail in Transformation


Kantar’s new study focuses on the behavior and triggers of impulse moments during shopping with shoppers across many types of impulse occasions.


Want an inside look into the research? Download your complimentary infographic.

September 2022

Creating and meeting the impulse moment at any time or any place

In an ever-evolving retail world, how can you best seize the “plus one” opportunity with shoppers across many different types of impulsive occasions? Traditional impulse opportunities are under threat due to ecommerce, evolving shopping behaviors and in-store evolution such as self-checkout and clean floor policies. Kantar wanted to study the shopping moment from shoppers’ POV (point of view) and explore innovative ways retailers around the globe are finding new moments of impulsive conversion. Because, while the retail landscape may be evolving, one fact remains steady: both shoppers and retailers want “plus one” opportunities within the shopping occasion. 

Using a unique geo-fenced shopping methodology, the Kantar team studied shoppers in-store and online during their shopping journey. Participants were asked to record photos and details when the impulse moment occurred: 

  • What was the trigger? 
  • What action was taken? 
  • What sentiment was felt? 
  • What shelf and promotional conditions existed at the time of impulse? 

Across Kantar’s study, two-thirds of shoppers made an impulse purchase across store-based retailers. More than two-thirds of those impulse buyers bought more than one impulse items.  

Impulse behavior is rooted in human psychology: the ‘impulsive brain’ acts much faster than the ‘rational brain’ which follows behind with slower, contextual thinking. These base instincts can be categorized by three main desires: Crave – the hunger and thirst needs; Experience – the desire to discover and satisfy the senses and; Connect – the want for social approval and connection. These psychological unlocks underpin the impulsive moment. The key to impulsive shopping is reflecting what the brain “wants” to satisfy.  

Within the study, three main growth personas were identified to capture these insights and allow retailers to focus on the triggers that uniquely appeal to shoppers.  

  1. Discovery: Sampling and meal inspiration appeal to the five senses 
  2. Deal Seeker: Simplify and amplify “magic” price points 
  3. Treat Myself: Embody the “crave” moment and help envision it 

Stimulating impulse within the online shopping trip and pickup/curbside is an opportunity. Within Kantar’s study, the rate of impulse dropped significantly during online shopping compared to in-store and very few shoppers were given an opportunity for impulse at pickup. Zero shoppers made an impulse purchase during curbside pickup. Recommendations for action include offering a variety of options after the primary shopping is complete, including syncing adding beverages or forgotten items in the “I’m on my way” order pickup process.

“Shoppers love to put something extra in their baskets but it was important to relearn what is true about impulse now that COVID is over,” said Leigh O’Donnell, Head of Kantar Retail Shopper & Category Insights. “Shopping and shopper behavior is a massively evolutionary space, so understanding ‘what works now’ is critical to the success of retail and our clients’ health.”

Kantar’s study intercepted 700 shoppers across store, online, pickup & delivery experiences. Additionally, the research focused on best practice and future-looking examples. Download your complimentary snapshot to preview the robust report.

To purchase the full report including the Spotlight Deck and Reference materials, contact the Kantar team at


Kantar's Retail, Sales,
and Shopper Experts

Answering your most pressing questions related to shopper commerce.

Leigh O'Donnell
Head of Shopper and Category Insights & Solutions
Mary Brett Whitfield
Senior Vice President Shopper Insights
Julie Craig
Vice President Shopper Insights
Renata de Moura
Senior Director Shopper Insights