Mindfulness is yet again proven to have many positive effects on our mind, body, but also decision making. In a newly published study the researchers found that mindfulness can decrease people’s impulsive buying behaviors and furthermore, lower their tendency to use buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment schemes.
In the study, the researchers collected data through a survey to Australian consumers. The survey included questions regarding BNPL usage, financial self-control, impulse buying tendency, financial wellbeing and overall well-being. To analyze the data they used a so-called partial least squares structural equation modeling (a method that is used to reduce the variables used to predict, to a smaller set of predictors).
The study showed empirical evidence for the ability of mindfulness to reduce BNPL usage. This by increasing consumers’ financial self-control and decreasing their impulse buying tendency. Additionally, the study also displayed evidence that more BNPL usage is linked to lower subjective evaluation of consumers’ overall well-being by increasing their current money management stress and reduce their expected future financial security.
What does this mean?
The study findings have implications for both public policy makers and business practitioners. The former should consider encouraging the BNPL industry to take more responsibility and ensure that consumers don’t become trapped in a debt cycle. Something that’s suggested in the study is that BNPL companies work with instant messaging in their products to bring awareness to consumers and prevent them from buying things they can’t afford. For instance integrating a question like “Can you afford this purchase? Think before you act.” and target this towards heavy-users of their services.
Due to the negative effect of BNPL usage on consumers’ financial and overall well-being, BNPL companies themselves need to be more aware of the negative association of their payment solutions with consumers’ well-being. Not being preventive enough of their customers becoming over indebted will have – and already has – a bad impact on their brand reputation and image. Lastly, retailers should make their payment steps more “mindful”.
Schomburgk, L. & Hoffman, A. (2022). How mindfulness reduces BNPL usage and how that relates to overall well-being. European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 2, pp. 325-359. doi: 10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0923