We have written many times about consumer shopping behavior. Today, we focus on understanding the psychology of consumer spending.


Compulsive Shopping: Understanding the Psychology of Consumer Spending

Thanks to straightnorth.com for the following content:

Are you a compulsive shopper? How do you know? Signs of compulsive shopping. Being preoccupied with thoughts of purchases. Buying unnecessary items. Wishing you feel happier when you return from your shopping trip. Undergoing something like a “high” during the purchase. And perhaps feeling guilty post-purchase.

The infographic below by Illinois Lending provides a brief overview of consumer spending. With an emphasis on compulsive purchasing. Psychologists think that compulsive buying results from a void in an individual’s life. This could be stemming from childhood, or the need for approval or excitement or, the simplest explanation yet, a real lack of impulse control.

Regardless of why we shop — when we shop, we feel good. The reward part of our brain lights up, dopamine floods our system, and we are happy. The problem comes when a person is truly “addicted” to shopping. That’s when the brain craves more shopping. Yet,  a shopping high is only temporary and will not provide long-term satisfaction.

If you believe that you are a “shopaholic,” is there anything you can do to curb the behavior? The first step is to identify the reasons for your compulsive spending. Knowing what triggers your compulsive shopping (e.g., depression, negativity, loneliness, or anxiety) makes it easier to stop. Feeling lonely? Call a friend. Anxious? Take a walk to calm down.

One solution that seems to help many people is simply tearing up credit cards. Using cash for all or some purchases can reduce compulsive spending. When you pay with cash straight from your wallet, you’re more aware of how much you’re really spending and what you have left to spend. It really does work! Another solution is to plan. Make a shopping list with a budget and stick to it — you’ll be surprised at how few impulse purchases you make.

Understanding the Psychology of Consumer Spending

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