How can music influence consumer behaviour?

Two-thirds of UK adults say music influences their spending habits, with POP a popular choice

  • Two thirds (66%) of UK adults say that the type of music a shop or business plays influences what they buy (with 27% answering “definitely” and 39% “probably”)
  • Pop music is the genre most likely to tempt shoppers to treat themselves to extravagant clothes (35%) and salon clients to a new hairstyle (37%)
  • Classical tunes encourage restaurant diners to order expensive items on the menu (31%)
  • Over half (53%) of the nation dislikes sitting in silence while eating a meal — particularly the younger generation
  • Over two-thirds (67%) of customers admit to LEAVING a venue after realising no songs were playing


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The Power of Music

Two-thirds (66%) of UK adults admit that the type of music played in shops or businesses (such as cafes or salons) influences what they buy and their habits – with 27% saying “definitely” and 39% answering with “probably”.

Our study* of over 2,000 UK adults  further revealed the music genres customers believe business owners should play to persuade them to spend, spend, spend — with pop a prevailing favourite.

When shoppers were asked to rank genres, pop came out on top. Over a third (35%) of customers said that they feel be more inclined to buy extravagant clothes and accessories, like a designer pair of trainers if pop plays.

Pop also reigns supreme at the UK’s supermarkets (43%) particularly among the 45-59 age bracket (48%). But food shops could also experiment with reggae — which tempts 16% to fill their trolleys — and hip-hop (15%) to encourage shoppers to spend on tasty treats.

Pop has persuasive powers in salons, too; 37% of people say this genre tempts them to try a new hairstyle. That said, moody rock anthems (19%) and soul melodies (18%) are also likely to leave customers feeling brave at in the hairdresser’s chair. Over-60s sway towards a new style if classical tracks play — more so than other age groups (18%).

Restaurant owners, take note — classical music is more likely to get diners in the mood to order expensive items on the menu, appealing to nearly a third (31%) of people. Soul (22%) and jazz (21%) are also popular, depending on the ambience you’re aiming for. Meanwhile, 40% of adults said that they are more likely to indulge in an extra treat if pop music plays in a pub or café. 

Crucially, over half of UK adults (53%) dislike dining in silence, particularly the younger generation (56%). The primary put-off is the lack of atmosphere (61%) while 32% claim the experience isn’t as fun without background beats. After all, nearly two-thirds (63%) admit that different types of music affect their mood in different ways.

This may account for why over two-thirds (67%) of customers admit to LEAVING a venue after realising no songs were playing. This scenario is most common in pubs — where one in five (20%) revelers have chosen the door over a drink after a silent reception — closely followed by bars and cafes. Evidently, a soundtrack to sipping, snacking and socialising is essential.   

Ultimately, the senses play a pivotal role in creating a positive experience for customers in shops and businesses like restaurants or salons. When asked to rank stimulants from 1-5, ‘music’ was a priority for a fifth (21%) — second only to ‘colours’ (41%) but surpassing ‘fragrance’ and ‘lighting’.

Andrea Gray, PPL PRS Managing Director, commented:

“It’s interesting to see the influence that music holds over consumers, with some even leaving a venue when they’re greeted by silence. It’s worth business owners considering how they can leverage music as a tool to attract and engage custom, especially after a challenging pandemic period. The popular genres are eye-opening and could untap sales opportunities.

“Ultimately, it’s testament to the excellence of the music industry. The quality output from today’s creators and performers is delivering more than just a pleasurable listening experience – it’s a driving force behind consumer decisions.”

Marianne Rizkallah, Music Therapist for PPL PRS, also commented:

“Music has mood-enhancing powers. When customers — whether pubgoers or shoppers — enter an environment that’s sound-tracked by a catchy beat or familiar tune, they may feel happier. If we feel good, we’re more inclined to treat ourselves. It’s fascinating to see that pop is recurringly popular across sectors, perhaps due to the upbeat tempo and memorable lyrics that characterise this genre. Plus, pop has evolved greatly over the decades; it often draws on influences from other genres so is more diverse than ever, driving mass appeal.” 

*A survey of 2,101 UK respondents by Perspectus Global in September 2021



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