Milk, broccoli, and wait, is that your brother texting back? When you’re at the supermarket, having a whole text volley with him could make you fill your cart with all kinds of things you hadn’t planned on getting. And it’s not gonna be extra kale.
When researchers looked at what people intended to buy and what they did, they saw that people who used their phones for “shopping-unrelated” tasks—like talking to someone, checking email, switching to a different playlist, or playing a game—bought significantly more unplanned items than people who didn’t use their phones while shopping. And those items tended to be “hedonic” products—those that “tend to be more decadent, excessive, or impractical,” says study co-author Michael R. Sciandra, assistant professor of marketing at Fairfield University in Connecticut. So basically, not kale.
At the same time you’re getting more spacey as you shop, stores are getting smarter. They may present themselves as “technology friendly” or highlight the availability of WiFi, to keep you on your phone. To capitalise on distractability, marketers could even include unrelated messages and info in mobile shopping apps to intentionally distract you, according to the study, done by researchers at Fairfield University, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Oxford. Yet consumers overwhelmingly say that their phones don’t affect them while shopping. “We hope consumers begin to recognise some of the drawbacks to unrelated mobile phone use in store environments,” Sciandra says. And the more attached to your phone you are, the worse the effects. (By the way, heavy phone users not only bought more things they hadn’t planned to buy; they also forgot more products they’d wanted to purchase.)
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US