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Gum-chewing shoppers spend more time browsing: Study

Researchers study the benefits of chewing gum in the retail environment

A new study suggests shoppers chewing gum may spend more time browsing, and stores can benefit by enticing customers with free gum samples.

Researchers from Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto wanted to see if the benefits of gum chewing -- which they say include more thinking, increased attention and lower stress levels -- applied in a retail environment.

They conducted four studies where they asked 300 students in a lab at a U.S. university to perform a variety of shopping tasks, like spending $100 on Amazon to buy gifts for three people.

They found the students whose mouths were occupied with chewing spent more time coming up with more thoughts about their shopping experience and browsed a greater number of items than those without anything in their mouths.

The researchers also surveyed 56 customers at a Toronto grocery store and found the half of customers provided with a stick of gum spent more time in the store and purchased more items.

The disappointing news for stores, however, may be that gum chewers did not spend more money at the grocery store than their non-chewing counterparts.

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