The Impact of Music on Grocery Store Customer Behavior

Choosing the right music for your grocery store can profoundly impact shoppers. The right soundtrack can encourage more browsing time and purchases.

The tempo of the music can impact which products shoppers buy. For example, playing slower-paced music encouraged shoppers to purchase more healthy items.

In addition, the music’s genre affects shopper perception. For instance, classical music projects an air of luxury and expense, leading shoppers to choose more expensive bottles of wine.

Fast-tempo music encourages impulse purchases.

Research suggests that store music can influence shoppers’ purchasing decisions. For example, louder music in restaurants leads people to choose less healthy food than if the restaurant played quieter music. This is because louder music increases heart rate and arousal, encouraging people to make less-mindful choices when hungry. Conversely, quieter music has a calming effect on the listener and enables mindful purchasing decisions.

Grocery stores often use music to encourage customers to spend more money. A study by marketing professor Ronald Milliman found that the tempo of the music used in a grocery store influenced how quickly customers moved through the store and impacted end-of-day sales. Milliman found that slower-paced music caused customers to linger in the store and purchase more items.

It’s crucial to remember that music has a complicated effect on consumer behavior. The style of music that works well in one setting may not work in another due to several other elements at play. The importance of pace and mode in combination should be noticed. A recent study from Professor Klemens Knoferle found that downtempo music with a minor mode is the ideal mix for influencing grocery store purchase behaviors.

It is no wonder that most grocers play soft music in their stores, as it has been shown to increase customer satisfaction. A survey conducted by Mood Media revealed that 83% of consumers say they enjoy in-store music and are more likely to return to a store that plays it. Moreover, they are more likely to recommend the store to their friends.

Slow-tempo music calms shoppers.

The best grocery stores beckon shoppers with impeccably displayed produce, the sweet smell of freshly baked goods and signs that point out their sales. However, a little-known aspect of in-store experiences is also playing an important role: music. The right music for grocery stores can make or break a shopping experience, influencing how much shoppers spend, what they purchase and how quickly they leave the store.

Various studies have shown that shoppers’ responses to music vary by its tempo and mode. Tempo is the speed of a song, measured in beats per minute (BPM). Fast-tempo music subliminally encourages shoppers to move faster through stores and may even cause them to abandon items on their lists. In contrast, slower music makes shoppers feel calmer and more willing to browse stores for longer periods.

Mode is a song’s harmonic or melodic structure and influences how happy or sad it feels. Studies have found that using a major key at a slow tempo creates a positive mood, while a minor key at a faster tempo generates sadness or introspection.

While the effects of music on shopper behavior are not new, modern technology has changed how and where people shop. Customers now expect to shop at any time, and it’s up to retailers to create an experience that meets their needs. By understanding how the right music can influence shoppers’ behavior, you can use music to increase your store’s sales and improve its bottom line.

Familiar music reduces wait time.

If a grocery store plays music that shoppers are familiar with, it reduces their perceived wait time. According to a study published in the Journal of Services Marketing, when people listen to music they like, more events are associated with the song in memory, so it feels like the shopping experience was shorter than it was. However, if the music is too loud, it can cause psychological stress. The researchers found that when shoppers listened to unfamiliar music, they were likelier to think the wait was longer than if the music played softly.

Grocery stores must experiment with music tempo and mode to find the right business balance. Playing fast-paced music in a grocery store encourages impulse purchases. It causes customers to rush through the aisles, but slow music makes shoppers more relaxed and willing to browse. The optimal music tempo for a grocery store is a major key at a moderate tempo, which makes shoppers feel happy and upbeat.

In addition to tempo and mode, grocery stores must consider the music’s cultural influence and the type of food served. A Scottish study found that when participants were offered a menu with foods from different cultures, they tended to select the food of the culture that was associated with the music they were listening to at the time.


Customers’ opinions of your grocery shop are greatly influenced by the music you play there. Research has shown that playing background music in your store can encourage impulse purchases, calm shoppers, and reduce wait time.

The acoustics of your location are another important aspect to consider when selecting background music for your store. Louder music increases shopping speed and leads to shorter browsing times, whereas softer music allows shoppers to spend more time perusing products. This can lead to higher sales and greater customer satisfaction.

Few studies examine the influence of loudness, whereas many concentrates on the impacts of pace and genre. One study found that louder music causes shoppers to leave the store more quickly than stores with soft music. This is likely due to some people’s negative associations with louder music.

A more recent study analyzed the effects of different styles of music on how menu items are chosen. The researchers discovered that when participants were exposed to American-style music, they were likelier to select menu items like hamburgers and fries. The music reminded them of home and a more normal lifestyle. However, the results were less pronounced when the same experiment was repeated with foreign-style music. This suggests that the style of music may be more influential than the acoustic elements of tempo and genre.