Sensory Experiences Drive 9 out of 10 Shoppers Back to Stores, Says Global Mood Media Study

  • Mood Media’s new study, “Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing,” examines the in-store customer experience across ten countries
  • 90 percent of consumers globally say they are more likely to revisit stores that leverage music, visuals and scent
  • 78 percent of consumers cite “an enjoyable in-store atmosphere” as a key factor in choosing in-store over e-commerce

“Combatting the e-Commerce Effect” screenshot from Mood Media’s new global study, “Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing” (Graphic: Business Wire)

AUSTIN, Texas--()--Mood Media, the world’s leading in-store media solutions company dedicated to elevating customer experiences, today launches its new global study, “Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing,” which reveals consumer attitudes toward the in-store customer experience as well as in-store shopping behaviors. Specifically, the report found that 78 percent of shoppers globally say an enjoyable in-store atmosphere is a key factor in their decision to choose in-store over e-commerce. For the purposes of this report, an enjoyable store atmosphere is seen as the right combination of music, visuals and scent.

A follow-up to Mood Media’s 2017 State of Brick & Mortar report, the new study was undertaken by Walnut Unlimited, the global market research agency specializing in neuroscience and behavioral psychology and economics, and surveyed more than 10,000 consumers across 10 countries worldwide including Australia, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), China, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition to examining recent shifts in consumers’ impressions and expectations of in-store retail, the 2019 study explores the impact of a store’s atmosphere – including sensory elements – on the overall shopping experience, as well as what drives certain customer behaviors, such as revisiting a store or making a purchase. The study also explored customer insights across six different sectors: banks, beauty, fashion, grocery, pharmacy and quick service restaurants (QSR).

Some additional highlights of the study’s key global findings include:

  • Combatting the e-commerce effect: 78 percent of shoppers cite an enjoyable in-store atmosphere plays a key factor in opting to make purchases in-store over online (Spain is most influenced, with 89 percent of shoppers more likely to purchase in-store).
  • The influence of sound: Music is the number one factor to improve a shopper’s mood in-store, and has an overall positive impact on 85 percent of global shoppers. However, the quality of the music played really matters. More than half (57 percent) of shoppers will disengage if brands make poor music choices.
  • Encouraging behavior change: Combining music, visual and scent sensorial elements increases consumer dwell time, with 75 percent of consumers citing they’ve stayed longer in a store when such components were in place.
  • Building customer loyalty: nine out of 10 consumers have decided to return to a store because they enjoyed its music, visuals and scent combination.
  • Scent psychology: 1 in 2 global consumers say that a nicely scented business “lifts my mood.”
  • The power of visual content: Over half (58 percent) of consumers globally say that engaging video content has a positive impact on their shopping.
  • The importance of interaction & personalization: The ability to touch, feel and try different products or services is cited as the biggest driver in making consumers more likely to want to buy something while shopping in-store (at 56 percent). More than a third of global consumers (38 percent) say “feeling like the experience is personalized to me” makes them more likely to purchase something, which was the second biggest driving factor ranked.

The report also uncovers differences in the ways shoppers around the world respond to the in-store atmosphere, finding that consumers in China and Spain most positively react to an enjoyable in-store environment. While 90 percent of consumers across the globe are likely to revisit a store if it has an enjoyable atmosphere, those numbers are even higher in China and Spain (93 percent and 95 percent respectively). And while scent was found to have a strong impact on shoppers in all of the countries surveyed (65 percent globally), it was most memorable in Spain, with 85 percent of Spanish shoppers recalling they had noticed a store having a pleasant scent. Shoppers in China and the US had the strongest reactions to in-store music, with 65 percent of people in both countries saying they have recently enjoyed listening to music in-store.

Other select US-specific highlights from Mood’s new study include:

  • Tactile factors: 43 percent of US consumers said “the ability to touch, feel & try the product” is the thing they like most about shopping in-store, the number one factor cited by global respondents as well.
  • An enjoyable atmosphere with attention to detail matters: 84 percent of American shoppers say an enjoyable in-store atmosphere (with music, visuals and scent) is a key factor in deciding to make purchases in-store over online (compared to 78 percent of shoppers globally). Geographies coming in even higher include Spain at 89 percent, China at 88 percent and the United Kingdom at 86 percent.
  • Music impacts dwell times: Nearly half of US respondents (45 percent) have spent longer in a store than they otherwise would have because they’ve “enjoyed the music”, which lines up with the global result of 46 percent.
  • Visual Inspiration: 43 percent of all US shoppers say they have been influenced by digital screens in-store, in line with global findings. Younger generations of Americans cite an even stronger proclivity toward being inspired by in-store digital screens – 62 percent of 18-24 year olds, and 63 percent of 25-34 year olds.
  • Personalization drives sales and brand affinity: “Feeling like the experience is personalized to me” when shopping makes 41 percent of US respondents “more likely to want to buy something” and 45 percent feel like they “want to come back”, both slightly higher than the global results.
  • Social Media behavior: Nearly a third of all US shoppers (31 percent) have shared an in-store experience on social media recently, with 25-34 year-olds coming in at 57 percent, nearly double the overall US social media statistic. The US is second only to China, with Chinese consumers ranking most active in terms of in-store social media use, at 56 percent overall.

“Consistent with our 2017 State of Brick & Mortar study, we found that the physical store remains important to the majority of people around the world, with the experiential element playing a large role in consumers’ decision to choose brick & mortar over e-commerce,” said Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing and creative content for Mood Media. “It also further highlights that brick & mortar businesses have to give consumers a reason to get off the sofa and into the store, and part of that reason lies in providing them an elevated sensorial experience. Brands should look to this report to discover how they can create the kinds of store environments that will convert shoppers into buyers and loyal repeat customers.”

To download the booklet to view more comprehensive study results, visit

About Mood Media Corporation

Mood Media is the world’s leading in-store media solutions company dedicated to elevating the Customer Experience. Mood creates greater emotional connections between brands and consumers through the right combination of Sight, Sound, Scent, Social and Systems solutions. Mood reaches more than 150 million consumers each day through more than 500,000 subscriber locations in 100+ countries around the globe. Mood’s clients include businesses of all sizes and market sectors, from the world’s most recognized retailers and hotels to quick-service restaurants, local banks and thousands of small businesses. For more details:

About Walnut Unlimited

Walnut Unlimited is a more than a market research agency; they are the human understanding agency. They uncover human insights that help bring global brands closer to understanding people for better business decisions. Through innovative thinking, they use no-nonsense science drawing on specialisms in neuroscience and behavioural psychology and economics. They work across retail and customer experience, technology, financial, FMCG, brand and communications. Information about Walnut Unlimited can be found here:


US Press Contact:
Caroline Traylor
PR & Communications Director

Release Summary

Mood Media launches its new global study, “Elevating the Customer Experience: The Impact of Sensory Marketing.”


US Press Contact:
Caroline Traylor
PR & Communications Director