Impulse buying: the role of affect, social influence, and subjective wellbeing

David H. Silvera (University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Anne M. Lavack (University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Fredric Kropp (Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Publication date: 25 January 2008



The purpose of this research is to examine predictors of impulse buying. Although moderate levels of impulse buying can be pleasant and gratifying, recent theoretical work suggests that chronic, high frequency impulse buying has a compulsive element and can function as a form of escape from negative affective states, depression, and low self‐esteem.


The present research empirically tests a theoretical model of impulse buying by examining the associations between chronic impulse buying tendencies and subjective wellbeing, affect, susceptibility to interpersonal influence, and self‐esteem.


Results indicate that the cognitive facet of impulse buying, associated with a lack of planning in relation to purchase decisions, is negatively associated with subjective wellbeing. The affective facet of impulse buying, associated with feelings of excitement and an overpowering urge to buy, is linked to negative affect and susceptibility to interpersonal influence.

Practical implications

Given the link to negative emotions and potentially harmful consequences, impulse buying may be viewed as problematic consumer behavior. Reductions in problematic impulse buying could be addressed through public policy or social marketing.


This study validates and extends the Verplanken et al. model by examining the relationship between impulse buying and other psychological constructs (i.e. subjective wellbeing, positive and negative affect, social influence, and self‐esteem).



Silvera, D., Lavack, A. and Kropp, F. (2008), "Impulse buying: the role of affect, social influence, and subjective wellbeing", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 23-33.

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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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