Researchers from a variety of institutions, including the University of South Florida and Louisiana State University, have collaborated on a study, reporting that "drinking a caffeinated beverage before shopping leads to more items purchased at the store and increased spending."
They claim the effect of caffeine is stronger for "high hedonic" products, such as scented candles, fragrances and décor items, and weaker for "low hedonic" products like notebooks, kitchen utensils, and storage baskets.
As part of the study, the team set up an espresso station near the entrance of two different retail stores in two major cities in France and outside a department store in Spain.
Upon entry, half of the 300 shoppers were handed a complimentary cup of coffee containing caffeine, and the other half offered decaf or water. "We found that the caffeine group spent significantly more money and bought a higher number of items than those who drank decaf or water," report authors of the study.
"Overall, retailers can benefit financially if shoppers consume caffeine before or during shopping, and those effects are stronger for high hedonic products."
The researchers concluded: "This is important for retailers to factor in to determine the proportion of hedonic products in their store."
According to New Food Magazine, several studies have also demonstrated that caffeine intake enhances arousal, experienced as a state of alertness ranging from extreme drowsiness to extreme excitement.
Arousal can be a positive hedonic state (excitement or feeling energised) or a negative hedonic state (tension or nervousness).
A positive hedonic state can enhance the perception of product features and increase purchase intentions for hedonic products.