There are lots of ways stores try to manipulate shoppers, from placing more expensive items at eye level to encouraging interaction with goods. A study published in the Journal of Marketing shows that the tempo of music you hear whilst shopping can also have an influence.
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The study found that fast music caused shoppers to move through the store faster, while slow music had the reverse effect. In addition, the slow tempo music seems to correlate to a jump in sales, and fast music with reduced sales. It's something that many stores exploit, using slow music to slow shoppers down and get them to spend more money.
Dr. Ronald E. Milliman, Professor of Marketing at Western Kentucky University, tested the effect of no music, slow music and fast music, on the behaviour of shoppers. Over a period of nine weeks music a store played music of different tempos. Slow music was defined as anything with a tempo of 72 BPM or lower, while tempos of 94 BPM or above were defined as fast. Instrumental music was selected to eliminate the effect of hearing a male or female singer.
If you are conscious of the music played in a store, you may be able to shop at your preferred pace rather than being swayed by the music. But if you shop listening to your own music, you might want to consider playing something fast-paced to listen to instead if you want to get your shopping done faster and spend less money. Just keeping an eye on the time, or shopping with someone else, could encourage you to focus on shopping and help you to ignore the piped music.
Using Background Music to Affect the Behaviour of Supermarket Shoppers [Journal of Marketing via WonderHow-To]