Products on grocery store shelves

Bill Oxford/istockphoto

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

The next time you’re at the grocery store, try to tune out the noise. That innocuous background music playing may have a hidden agenda. Stores may be using music to get you to buy more, according to research from University of Bath’s School of Management.

The study determined that shoppers are more tired and generally drained when they shop between Mondays and Thursdays, and they end up purchasing at least 10% more thanks to music playing in the background.

Pleasant, low-key tunes appear to lift shoppers’ moods and make them more likely to buy items they don’t need, claims the study. 

But starting Friday and through the weekend, the music has less of an impact. Researchers surmise that it's because shoppers are already relaxed and don’t need the music to put them in a state of mind for shopping. 

“Pleasant music appears to have a mentally soothing effect, which impacts the way people shop,” said Carl-Philip Ahlbom, from the University of Bath’s School of Management. “At the weekend people are essentially happier, and so the positive power of music is less noticeable.”

Music that plays when people are shopping on the weekend may even make them buy less, because it’s adding more noise to what is likely already a busy — and more stressful — shopping experience.

So if you don't want to wear earplugs, what's the best strategy to avoid grocery store mistakes (including spending too much)? Make a list and stick to it.

Want more grocery news?Don't forget to like us on Facebook.

Cheapism in the News