SHOPPERS spend £10 more when using their phones to make calls or send messages while they're at the supermarket, a study has found.
Customers have been found to walk at a slower pace and along more aisles when distracted by the likes of WhatsApp, email and Instagram.
It means they came across more items, prompting impulse buys and reminding them of things they had run out of at home, bumping up their supermarket bill by up to 41 per cent.
Researchers from the University of Bath say shoppers spent an extra 40p for each second they were on the phone.
People who used their device in store splashed out an average 41 per cent, or £10.57, more than those who did not.
The trial, which involved 117 people aged between 19 and 80, found that shoppers purchased 7.63 more items (up 58 per cent) and spent 4 minutes 27 seconds longer at the store (up 41 per cent).
Here's how to cut the cost of your grocery shop
SAVING on your shop can make a big difference to your wallet. Here are some tips from Hannah Maundrell, editor of Money.co.uk, about how you can cut the cost of your shopping bills:
- Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
- Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
- Never shop hungry – you are far more likely to buy more food if your tummy is rumbling
- Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
- Use social media – follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
- Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
- Check the small print – It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
- Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards
Dr Carl-Philip Ahlbom said: "The findings were very clear – the more time you spend on your phone, the more money you’ll part with. So if you’re trying to budget, leave your phone in your pocket.
"It’s not the phone itself that causes more purchases, but its impact on our focus. On the plus side, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing for shoppers.
"Taking a slower and more scenic journey can remind you of products you’d forgotten you needed, and it can introduce you to items that might make for a more inspiring menu."
It is thought using a phone distracts users from their mental shopping list or their usual "autopilot" route around the store.
And while the study was carried out at a supermarket, researchers reckon that the same thing would happen at other types of stores, such as fast fashion, where shoppers are buying low cost items.
Dr Ahlbom added: "For retailers there’s a clear message here that they no longer need to fear mobile phone use in-store.
"In fact, making it easy for customers to use their mobiles, with good WiFi and phone docks on shopping trolleys, will more than pay off.
"The one exception is that using a mobile phone protects shoppers from temptation at the checkout. Here we found that people picked up fewer items than normal."
The full findings are published in the Journal of Marketing.
Often, it's hard for us to put down our phones when may retailers, such as Superdrug and Tesco, offer exclusive discounts and perks when we shop using their app.
Plus, Sainsbury's has given us a glimpse into the future by launching the UK's first checkout-free grocery shop where customers pay using the mobile app.
You phone can be useful too, thanks to apps like VA, which helps you find the cheapest supermarket deal in your area – and it could save you £1,040 a year.
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