Most consumers are familiar with the term "retail therapy." Online shopping has allowed this hobby to become even more prevalent in the homes of millions of shoppers. The satisfaction of picking up a new television or a flattering new pair of shoes is evident, but can a shopping spree go too far? Some Tennesseans experience trouble in drawing the line when it comes to shopping. While the financial risks of such spending can certainly come with crippling costs, some experts point toward warning signs that indicate when harmless shopping becomes a psychological dependence.
As online shopping has gained more traction than ever before, Psychology Today reveals the dangers of compulsive buying. There are many factors that make shopping an incredible appealing activity, especially online shopping. Some of these factors include:
- Online advertisements on social media
- Open hours (online shops never "close")
- Immediacy and convenience
- Emotional gratification
Psychology Today outlines these factors, explaining the strong parallels between shopping and addiction. Many consumers use shopping as an outlet for stress and anxiety, which can ultimately lead to prolonged stress when wallets take the biggest hit. It is this emotional tie that makes compulsive shopping so dangerous; the article also connects pathological buying with issues such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding.
Business Insider also highlights the growing problem of shopping addictions and financial crises, adding that compulsive buying can eventually lead to destroyed lives. Countless customers are lured in by marketing ploys that "discount" products, eventually turning to credit card payments instead of cash. Spending large amounts of money on trivial items can also evoke a sense of guilt in shoppers. Business Insider appears in agreement with Psychology Today, concluding that if a consumer is incessantly worrying about the amount of money they owe from credit card spending, there could be an underlying psychological issue at play.