Scientific research shows that music played in a store affects customers' shopping decisions. According to the Mehrabian-Russell theory, the tempo, genre and loudness of music can change the pleasure threshold of people. The music that plays changes people's psychology, making them more or less prone to shopping. Music, which affects people's arousal and pleasure thresholds, is therefore a very important factor in customer behavior.

In his article published in the Journal of Marketing in 1990, psychologist Brunner emphasizes the following three factors:

  • People show emotional reactions to music.
  • The timing, tone, type and tempo of the music evoke different emotions in people.
  • The fact that people know music beforehand affects their emotional experiences.


In 1982, psychologist Milliman and colleagues studied the relationship between the tempo of the music and the purchasing decision of the customers in a store in New York. Although the experiment designed was quite simple, the data obtained were quite interesting.

Slow-tempo music allows people to spend more time at the grocery store.
Also, when a slow music plays in the grocery store, sales increase 32% compared to when it plays fast music.
This effect is called pleasure-arousal-dominance (PAD, pleasure-stimulation-dominance). Fast music stimulates people more. People who are overstimulated move faster in the market. Slow-paced music prevents people from being aroused and allows people to walk slower, spend more time in the store and buy more.

A similar experiment was done in 1999 by Caldwell and Hilbert in the restaurant. Slow music allows people to spend more money on drinks and food; fast music made people eat food faster. Also, the regulars of the restaurant waited less for the table to be empty, as people ate their meals faster due to the fast-playing music.

Of course, we cannot match these two effects for all restaurants. There is a difference between slow or fast-paced music in a 5-star restaurant and a fast food restaurant. Because fast food operates in the "version" logic in a restaurant, people are expected to eat and leave the restaurant, while in a 5-star restaurant, customers are asked to stay in the restaurant for longer.

Sound Level

A study by Smith and Curnow in 1966 shows that there is a direct relationship between loudness in a store and time spent in the store. Accordingly, customers spend less time in stores that play loud music compared to stores that play music at lower volume. On the other hand, there is no difference in the purchasing rate of the customers. Moreover, loud music can mislead people about how much time they spend in the store, and women in particular can mistake how much time they spend in a store with loud music.

Another study conducted by Yalch and Spangenberg in 1988 reveals that young people shop more in stores with loud music, while older people shop more in stores with quieter music. Even if there is no clear data on whether this is due to age or generation awareness, we can still say that there is a direct relationship between the loudness of music and customer behavior.

Genre - Janr

We can easily say that some music genres have a more direct impact on human psychology. A study explores the difference between classical music and a Top 40 list of popular songs at a winery. Customers in the winery spend more when classical music is playing. Interestingly, when classical music plays, people don't buy more wine, but buy more expensive ones. Because classical music represents sophisticated tastes, people prefer more expensive and better wines when classical music plays.

Another study shows that when Christmas-themed songs are played in the store during the holiday season, people buy more holiday products. This proves that there is a certain relationship between the type of song played and the product purchased. Psychologically, music that prepares people for New Year's Eve increases the likelihood of people buying products related to the New Year. So we can say that playing Jingle Bells everywhere on New Year's Eve has a function of psychologically preparing people for New Year's Eve, New Year's shopping.

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