Why do grocery stores play music?

Bianca Sanchez

Whether you love it or loathe it, supermarket music has an impact on your shopping experience. Turns out, there is a long history and well-documented science as to why stores play music, what they play and at what volume.

35 Grocery Store Items You Should Never Pay Full Price For

In 1966, researchers first examined the effect of ambient music volume on grocery store shoppers. The team found that playing loud, raucous music got shoppers out of the store quicker. Softer, calmer music allowed them to spend more time shopping.

Almost two decades later in 1982, another research team came to a similar conclusion. Like loud music, uptempo music tended to move people quicker, resulting in less time spent in the store and fewer purchases altogether. Meanwhile, slower, downtempo music moved shoppers at a more gradual, easy-going speed. Sales were up 38% on slow-tempo music days compared to fast ones.

Within the past decade, shops also learned music should be sort of sad too. A 2011 study found that downtempo and minor songs resulted in 12% greater sales.

Next time you shop, pause to notice the ambient music. A lot more thought has been put into it than you might think. If you find yourself asking other questions too during your next grocery store trip, here are the answers to common shopping questions and more grocery shopping hacks.

More From

  • 40 mocktail recipes so good you won’t miss the booze

    If you’re looking for delicious drinks you can easily make and enjoy without any alcohol, these mocktails are likely to be a hit with the entire family.

  • Delicious desserts that start with frozen fruit

    There are a lot of dinner recipes that start with frozen ingredients, but of course, you can make sweet treats using freezer food as well. Whether you're looking to cool down with a no-cook frozen pop or are dreaming of a Dole Whip, these frozen fruit dessert recipes are light, refreshing and oh-so-scrumptious.

  • 40 rookie grilling mistakes and how to avoid them

    Grilling is an all-American pastime that’s perfect for enjoying the weather from your own backyard. Make yourself a simple weeknight dinner or enjoy a mid-day feast of burgers, steaks and hot dogs, but make sure you don’t make these mistakes when firing up the grill.

  • The most common grilling question in every state

    Summer is here, which means more and more people have started to fire up their grills. And whether you’re getting your Fourth of July menu in order or just grilling for the family, a little help from search engines can teach you how to grill everything from steak to pineapple. Across the country, these are the top uniquely searched grilling tips using Google in each state over the past 30 days.