I can guarantee three things every time I go grocery shopping on Sunday mornings:

  1. My 3-year-old will insist on getting her own cart only to ditch it halfway into the first aisle
  2. There will only be one lane open despite the same long line at that time every weekend.
  3. I will hear the same Panic! At The Disco song playing in the store.

There hasn't been much research behind the first two, but there has been a lot written about why grocery stores insist on playing music while you shop.

How Music Makes You Buy More Groceries

The tempo of the music may affect the amount of time you spend in the store and how expensive your total is at the checkout lane.

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AllReceipes.com dug up a 1982 study that showed people spent more time in the aisles and filling their carts when music was played at a slow tempo with a reasonable volume. (Sorry, no thrash metal the next time you run to buy a loaf of bread)

When the music volume and tempo were increased in the test store, shoppers exited more quickly. Less time shopping meant they didn't spend as much money at the store.

How Do Stores Choose Their Music

For some stores, it all comes down to the culture and vibe they are looking to create for their shoppers.

NPR spoke with several music programmers responsible for the tunes you hear while pushing your cart. The consensus was the music selection isn't there. to sell you on specific items or price points.

Woman listening to music while shopping for groceries
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Instead, most stores subscribe to services that provide a specific atmosphere built on tempo, volume and the age-range of the average customer.

Don't be bummed the next time you hear your favorite song from your 20s while shopping. Your local grocery store is just trying to make you comfortable.

How Often Do People Notice The Music Playing In Grocery Stores

If you've ever thought, "doesn't anyone else notice this awful song playing in the produce section," you're not alone.

Soundtrack Your Brand is one of the many companies that provides licensed music to grocery stores. The service claims 72.6 shoppers of customers do actually notice the songs being played while they grab groceries.

But even though there is an abundance of shoppers aware of the music, don't expect stores to suddenly start taking requests. The same music service also reports only 35% of shoppers believe it is important for a store to play songs they actually like.

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The most popular grocery stores in America, from corporate chains to family-owned enterprises. Stacker ranked them using consumer ratings sourced from YouGov polls.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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