Americans spent $71B on social media impulse buys: Survey

Americans are spending a lot of money on social media. According to a new Bankrate survey, 48% of social media users have made an impulse purchase, spending a whopping $71 billion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 57% of buyers regretted at least one purchase. The Yahoo Finance Live team discusses the survey and their social media purchases.

Video Transcript

BROOKE DIPALMA: One thing that I'm watching is the impact that social media has on spending power. According to a new Bankrate survey, Americans spent 71-- I mean, look at this-- $71 billion on social media impulse buys in the past 12 months. Now in one year, the average impulse buyer spends $754.

Now when I heard this, I actually wasn't too surprised. I feel like--

JOSH SCHAFER: So what are you buying off Instagram then, Brooke? What are you buying?

BROOKE DIPALMA: I have to say I have bought a few things.


BROOKE DIPALMA: That's a lot of money. But the ease at which you can go online to know it, which I have tempted myself to download and redownload a million times, buy something, or even the link to Amazon, easy it is to purchase. And then Apple Pay's connected to your phone. I find myself in a few-- I bought a beach chair once that I ended up returning.

JOSH SCHAFER: I get me with hats. I love baseball hats. I always get different baseball hats. They always-- I feel like, I'm buying like a hat a month now. I should probably get a subscription with the amount of things.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Should we fell to this?

JOSH SCHAFER: I'll buy shirts, and then they'll always have like-- everything's 25% off now right off Instagram. And then you're like, oh, I'm getting a deal. You get caught up in it that way. I guarantee, Pras probably buying watches.


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: I'm going to tell you, no watches. But I have bought several things off of Instagram, et cetera.


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: I don't-- I don't-- I'm happy with my purchase.


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: I bought a backpack. I got some t-shirts. I got all kinds of stuff. And it's like, it's so easy. It's an ease of use. I'm already there. It's super simple. It's already got my-- you know, Facebook's gotten myself connected with IG. I'm not sure if TikTok is doing the same.

But big picture, though, this is a big win, I think, for these social media channels that are able to monetize directly from ads to the e-commerce site to my home. And it's a big win, right?

JOSH SCHAFER: You made a great point--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Quick turnaround.

JOSH SCHAFER: Well, you made a great point off the top there, too, that I think in the beginning, I always thought like, oh, you ordered that off Facebook?


JOSH SCHAFER: And you thought that it wouldn't come in good? And now, it's like just legit companies. Like Nike sends you promotions through Facebook to the real Nike website. And you're ordering off Nike. And I think five years ago, that wasn't really the case. And you were sort of worried about your parents getting scammed on Facebook.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Where am I buying this from? Where is it coming from?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: And then also they have such good-- I'm sorry, they're targeting me in a good way, because they know everything about me. They know what I want. And it's like-- it's like, they know I'm looking for a backpack. And here you go, there it is, the one I want. It is nice and clean black--

BROOKE DIPALMA: It's so easy to get. Now, I will say, another point in the survey is that men spent an average of $999 compared to women who spent just $518. So it sounds like you two are more susceptible.

JOSH SCHAFER: I could totally see that. I could totally see that.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Do you think so?


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Men are lazy, right? We don't want to go to the store.

BROOKE DIPALMA: I will say, I think twice.

JOSH SCHAFER: Because I bought work clothes off Instagram or like a button-down shirt that I would not normally go shop for. But if you're going to tell me it's on sale and you're putting it right in front of my face while I'm sitting on my couch, well, I could use a shirt, a new shirt.


JOSH SCHAFER: So I don't know, they get you in that way.