Playing the right background music increases sales

Many businesses play music in an attempt to shape their customers’ perceptions and behaviour. In a cooperation with Soundtrack Your Brand, the exclusive provider of Spotify Business, researchers at HUI Research have launched the largest field experiment on background music in restaurants ever conducted.

Our results show that a carefully selected playlist of music that reflects the company’s brand increased sales with more than 9% compared with playing random popular songs.

“When done right, music has a major positive effect on sales. Play the wrong music, and you just might find that you’re alienating that very same customer and selling significantly less.”, says Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, who led the study, 

A separate survey of 2,101 restaurant guests showed that their well-being and satisfaction improved when they had listened to a brand-fit music compared with when they had heard random popular music, even though the guests seemed unaware of the music that was played in the restaurant. Background music thus seems to impact consumers’ emotions in a subconscious way.

 “Based on these results, I’d advise anyone who has a restaurant to be very mindful about the choice of music. Unless you think hard about the music you play, you might be better off to refrain from playing background music altogether,” Professor Daunfeldt says.

The study is the biggest study on the subject to date, analyzing nearly two million purchases during 20 weeks across 16 restaurants in the Stockholm metropolitan area. The field experiment is based on a Latin Square Design where eight experiment restaurants are randomly assigned into four experiment groups based on the different music treatments. Using a difference-in-difference regression analysis, any significant differences between the music treatments are likely to be the causal effects of the treatments.

The full scientific working paper version can be downloaded from here

A popular summary of the paper can be obtained from here

For more information please contact

Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt
Research Director HUI Research
E-mail: sven-olov.daunfeldt@huiresearch.se 

 

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