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Want to Save Money While Shopping? Leave Your Phone Home

HealthDay News
by -- Steven Reinberg
Updated: May 7th 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, May 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Everyone knows about cellphones and the threat of distracted driving. But how about distracted shopping?

Using your cellphone while shopping might make you susceptible to buying stuff you didn't intend to buy, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people who used cellphones while shopping were more likely to forget what they went to the store to buy.

This occurred when the phone was used for activities unrelated to shopping, such as making calls, texting, checking email or listening to music.

This effect occurred even when the phone was only used part of the time while shopping. This implies that your phone may prey on your mind even when you've stopped using it, the researchers said.

"Our finding that phone use that is unrelated to shopping negatively affects shopping behavior was in stark contrast to beliefs held by consumers," said researcher Michael Sciandra, a marketing professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

"The vast majority of shoppers we asked thought that mobile phones did not have any negative effect," he added.

For the study, Sciandra and his colleagues asked 231 participants to take part in a simulated shopping trip. The results were published May 5 in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

The pretend shoppers either used or didn't use their cellphones, or used them constantly or intermittently, while also viewing a video of someone grocery shopping.

Shoppers were given a list of items and asked to compare them with the products the person in the video put in the cart, or picked up and put down.

Sciandra's team found that people who are very dependent on their cellphones were most likely to deviate from the shopping plan.

One limitation of the study is that part of it was done as a simulated shopping experience, so the findings may not apply to real-world settings.

"Mobile phones are quickly becoming the principal distractor for many consumers and they offer a unique form of interruption," Sciandra said in a journal news release.

"Our findings may influence consumers' attitudes towards mobile phone use while shopping and persuade them to reflect on how these devices impact our lives, both positively and negatively," he said.

More information

Visit Help Guide for tips on smartphone addiction.