Shopaholics-Let's go shopping


Sumanta Dutta
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Garia, Kolkata

"Let's go shopping" is probably the new buzz word for Indian shoppers. As a result of new materialistic and nouveau rich society, this new Indian shoppers "tribe" consider shopping a delightful means to beat boredom. It is aptly viewed by Mr.Sarang Panchal, Executive Director, customized Research, AC Nielsen-South Asia-"with the increase in the sheer number of malls and modern format stores, shopping has almost become a national past time in our country especially in the cities".

The concept of "retail therapy" now becomes a part of our whole shopping experience, A close observation will reveal that, we all shop for many reasons but the addict buys to relieve anxiety and overtime the buying creates a dysfunctional lifestyle and more and more of their focus is on shopping. It is evident that consumers sometime spent more money on shopping than they had initially planned.

According to a recent AC Nielsen Global online survey which is conducted among 22,000 internet user in 42 countries revealed that , one in four consumer shop as " a form of entertainment", once in a month, while in Asia ,one in four consumers view shopping as " something to do" once in a week.

This "let's go shopping" trend raises a few interesting questions for marketer of consumer products and brands.

- Do the shoppers buy because they are motivated by brand communication?
- Or due to psychological discomfort?
- Because of certain promotional offers?
- Or due to derive gratification out of these shopping experience?

Following are some of the major reasons that create a dysfunctional lifestyle in relation to such compulsive shopping.

- Emotional deprivation in childhood
- Inability to tolerate negative feelings, boredom, pain.loneliness, depression, fear, anger.
- Excitement seeking
- Approval seeking
- Perfectionism
- Need to gain control
- Peer pressure
- Due to a sense of euphoria (i.e. spending a fat packet)
- Commercial; boom & media exposure
- or following the ideology" Live in present, for the future is unseen".

This Oniomania (i.e. compulsive shopping) can be devastating, not only financially but also mentally and emotionally. People as a result suffering from syndrome usually carry multiple credit cards and run up huge bills, which they find it difficult to pay later.

However, with the competitive pressures increasing in retailing, shopaholics could provide a retailer a long term base of consumers who may develop store loyalty over a period of time.

Upshot of strong economic growth coupled with unprecedented levels of disposable income provide customers a new generation dysfunctional lifestyle. We must aware of that. Bo Derek the knockout beauty had rightly said "whoever said money can't buy happiness, did not know where to go shopping.'

Sumanta Dutta
Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Garia, Kolkata

Source: E-mail February 17, 2007


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