How Music Impacts Our Purchasing Habits
By Ashley Jobrien - December 16, 2021

Believe it or not, music plays a big role when it comes to consumers’ buying habits. Usually, stores will play music in the background to create a pleasant ambiance, and that generally means playing music that the customer demographic already listens to. But there is psychological evidence that there’s more to music than we know. A study done in a German supermarket found that French wine was bought far more than German wine when French music is playing, and vice versa. Professor Adrian North, who studies the psychology of music explained, “I think probably the real lesson to take from findings like that is different [musical] genres have got all kinds of different stereotypes, different kinds of connotations for particular groups of people.”

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There are many different genres of music, pace, and more that affect the spending of customers. For example, fast music makes people move around grocery stores faster, while slow music causes people to move around slower. North explains that if a supermarket is busy, perhaps they should play faster music to get people moving quicker. On the contrary, if they are having a slow day, they can play slow music to influence the customers to browse around longer and hopefully spend more. Also, businesses don’t usually ask customers what they want to be listening to while they are put on hold. North believes this is a missed opportunity saying, “It’s still so rare to come across a business that gives you the choice – you know if you’re going to be sat there for 20 minutes, what would you like to listen to? You know would it be nothing or would it be musical genre A, musical genre B or something else altogether?”

Volume is also taken into consideration. There are studies that show when there is loud, noisy music playing, customers spend less time in the store. While softer music plays, they do the opposite and spend more time in the store. Finding the right volume is the trick to create calm shoppers. From the moment you walk into a supermarket, many things are happening that you may not even be aware of. Everything is happening to create a pleasant shopping experience to help increase one’s average spending. It’s not only the music, but also the layout, the smells, the lights, and the style of the salespeople. But music is one aspect that really stands out, for it’s the natural channel for transferring emotions.