eBay release “Sound of Shopping” track

By Chris Dawson August 20, 2014 - 8:30 am

eBay have today released ‘Sound of Shopping’, a piece of music using sounds scientifically proven to help people make better shopping decisions.

Sound of ShoppingCelebrating eBay UK’s 15th anniversary the ‘Sound of Shopping’ track uses pop music radio, football commentary and people chatting – all of which have been proven to make shoppers think more rationally about what they are buying, reduce bad purchasing choices and help shoppers spot a bargain.

The sounds included in the track were identified by a ground-breaking piece of academic research which explored how sound affected nearly 2,000 online shoppers. The experiment used a specially designed simulated shopping portal that played background sounds commonly found on in everyday life, on the high street or the home. The research was conducted in partnership with Patrick Fagan, an expert in Consumer Behaviour, Goldsmiths University.

Patrick Fagan explains “Any wine store owner will tell you that playing French music increases sales of French wine, but there is almost no research looking at this phenomenon online. This study has shown us some of the surprising ways that sound can help us make better purchasing decisions when we shop online, and some of the sounds we should avoid.”

The experiment was a controlled, psychological study that used well-established psychometric tools to measure various elements, such as mood, personality, and rational thinking. Participants answered some demographic questions before completing a measure of extroversion and a measure of mood. They then went through a realistic simulated online store for five products (a blender, wine, a board game, trainers and a barbecue), where they indicated purchase intent, perceptions of value, perceptions of quality, and emotional response, and reaction times were covertly measured.

Once the best and worst sounds were identified, it was over to musician and producer Mistabishi to create a track which encouraged rational buying decisions and discouraged rash purchases. The result is the track called ‘Sound of Shopping

If you’ve ever made a rash purchase on eBay, think back to where you were when you did it and what sounds you could hear in the background. Perhaps that rash purchase wasn’t entirely your fault if the baby was crying, but please don’t use that as an excuse to back out of an auction payment or for returning an item because you bid too much!

Top five ‘Good’ sounds

Top five ‘Bad’ sounds

Pop music radio

Makes people feel so good that they are more likely to spend without getting “suckered” into bad deals. Less than a third (30.1%) made a bad purchasing decision while listening to pop music

Classical music

Makes people overate a product’s quality by 5%

Football commentary

People scored an average of four out of five for rational decision-making when listening to football commentary

Restaurant buzz

Another sound associated with ‘quality’ that encourages people to pay more than they otherwise might

TV or radio news piece about the economy or people talking

Factual background noise reduces bad purchase decisions takes away emotional cues that might otherwise trick shoppers into a bad deal

Baby crying

Put shoppers in a bad mood, skewing how they assess value and quality

Air conditioner

A sound NOT associated with quality or luxury, that helps people judge value better


Another sound that puts shoppers in a bad mood and makes them think less rationally

Birds singing or lawnmowers

The sounds you hear sitting outdoors while shopping online make you more likely to buy outdoor products. People hearing birds singing are 2.4% more likely to buy a barbecue than normal


But only if you’re an extrovert. Extroverts on the other hand need background noise to shop well

  • Craig
    3 years ago

    I had an urge to buy a plot on the moon while listening. Subliminal messaging? Does eBay own the moon?

  • philblue
    3 years ago

    sound of silence would be more apt for our sales lately!

    • Craig
      3 years ago

      Would agree with that over the last 5 days.

  • 3 years ago

    i remember a filling station/convenience store owner in lancashire – plagued by teens on bikes they turned on mozart over the pa

    the nitwits left immediately

    since mozart has been used by doctors to relieve stress (eg pre-natal & during epileptic incidents) what might this indicate about the nitwits home environment?

    had they returned i suggested schoenberg

  • Steve
    3 years ago

    Whats the track for making management decisions at ebay in a coherent way? the birdie song?

  • James
    3 years ago

    Nobody suggested the ebay song by weird Al yet?

    • 3 years ago

      eBay used to have that as the hold music for their UK HQ phone system in Richmond 🙂

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