Research Highlights How Music Can Help Shoppers Spend More Mindfully

The study in Canada commissioned by Interac found that six in 10 shoppers want tools that encourage intentional spending.

According to a new campaign and research from Interac, some types of in-store music can lead to overspending.

The study, commissioned by Interac, found that two-thirds (67 percent) of Canadians are practicing ‘intentional spending,’ the action of making purposeful purchasing decisions that live up to their financial goals and personal values. Today, the majority of Canadians (67 percent) are carefully planning their purchases, and over half (55 percent) say they are less likely to spend on impulse now than they were before the pandemic.

The Interac data additionally shows that “six in 10 shoppers (62 percent) want tools that encourage intentional spending,” the company said in a release.


In response, Interac has released Sound Shopping, a music track that provides a balanced backdrop to the shopping experience, intended to promote mindful spending at a time of financial anxiety.

“Research validated our belief that Canadians were looking for support in maintaining the intentional spending behaviours that were established over the course of the pandemic,” said Nader Henin, AVP, Digital and Retail Commerce Products, Interac Corp. “The release of Sound Shopping follows a period of both rising retail transactions and Interac Debit use, highlighting the need now, more than ever, for Canadians to feel in control of their spending.”


Shoppers across the country took part in the research study whereby half of the participants listened to Sound Shopping, while a control group listened to the pop music that is typically played in stores. The participants observed that the Sound Shopping track made them feel calmer than those who listened to popular music and was associated with a 98 percent purchase satisfaction rate.

“As shoppers turn to Interac products to help them maintain more control over their money in new economic times, we’re looking for creative ways to help them spend more mindfully,” said William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer at Interac Corp.

“Earlier this year we developed a sonic ID, and continuing our focus on sound felt like a natural extension. Music has traditionally been used to fuel purchase behaviors in retail, and we wanted to experiment with the ways it could positively impact and help add mindfulness to the shopping experience. We created the Sound Shopping track with this in mind.”


Client: Interac Corp.
Client Team: Andrea Danovitch, Matt Houghton, Meghan Jeffery, Rachel Kellogg, Kenny Johnston, Matt Beck, Assaf Isaac

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Executive Creative Director: Wain Choi
Associate Creative Director & Art Director: Michael Romaniuk
Associate Creative Director & Writer: Marco Buchar
Design Director & Designer: Jeff Watkins
Designer: Ana-Marija Vlahovic
Account Team: Alyssa Guttman, Sasha Dan
Strategy Team: Spencer MacEachern, Patrick Henderson

Media Agency: Media Experts
Media Team: Mackenzie McNevin, Denise Lum, Keaton Dale

PR Agency: Hill+Knowlton Strategies
PR Team: Cillian Murphy, Blaine Mackie, Kaleigh Ambrose, Aimee Legault

Sonic Branding Agency: Sixième Son
French Agency: The French Shop
Producers: Ola Stodulska, Houng Ngui

Production House: Zulubot
Head of Production: Adam Palmer
Zulubot Producers: Colleen Allen
Director: Sean Deakin

Post Production Company: Zulubot
Zulubot Post Producers: Sarah Dayus, Ben Bentivegna
Editor: Jessie Posthumus
Audio: Noah Mroueh

Interac also provided additional insights from the study

  • A mindful moment: Six in 10 Canadians (63 per cent) are spending more on essentials than they were even three months ago and more than half (54 per cent) say inflation is making it more difficult to afford the things they need. Interac transaction data shows Interac Debit spending on gas and groceries has increased approximately 9 per cent and 4 per cent respectively in the last three months. Canadians are making an effort to purchase what they need rather than what they want (65 per cent), to be more considerate with their spending (57 per cent), and only purchase items with personal meaning (33 per cent).
  • The power of a pause: More than six in 10 Canadians who practice intentional spending (64 per cent) pause and think about purchases before making them. When it comes to making non-essential purchases, the Interac study shows that taking at least a one-day pause before completing the transaction often leads to increased satisfaction.
  • Taking back control: At a time when money worries appear to be rising, less than one in five Canadians (18 per cent) link intentional spending with feeling restricted. Instead, nearly eight in 10 (77 per cent) have positive associations, including feeling in control, disciplined, thoughtful, empowered, happy and considerate. Debit can be a helpful tool when it comes to maintaining control of spending; four in 10 Canadians (44 per cent) say they are hesitant to use credit and prefer to only spend the money they have.
  • Pressures and perspectives: As Canadians enjoy fewer restrictions than they did during earlier stages of the pandemic, the opportunities and temptations to spend are rising. Different demographics face different pressures. Fifty per cent of Gen Z adults report they are spending more money because of increased social activities, compared to 20 per cent of Boomers. Meanwhile, Interac transaction data shows that Interac Debit spending at restaurants and eating places has increased by 7 per cent, bars by 15 per cent and theatres by 22 per cent in the summer compared to the spring of 2022.
  • Bargain boom: The pandemic had a profound impact on the spending habits of many Canadians, as nearly half (47 per cent) say they now look for deals and sales when shopping. Interac transaction data shows that spending at discount retailers is rising, with Interac Debit volumes at discount stores increasing by 7 per cent in the summer of 2022 over the summer of 2021, while spending at premium stores re

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