The NEW Retail Therapy

I confess… a shopping break is restorative for me. Can anyone else relate?

It seems I’m far from alone in enjoying both on and off-line “retail therapy”. Research indicates that it really does help alleviate feelings of sadness and spark our motivation. I know it works for me!

New research has found that retail therapy – far from being empty and superficial – can be an ‘effective way to minimize sadness. It can even help a person feel more in control of their environment, researchers claim. Researchers from the University of Michigan claim ‘retail therapy’ should no longer be dismissed. They found that buying something was up to 40 times more effective at giving people a sense of control and they were three times happier than those who only browsed. Previous studies have shown that shoppers enjoy positive feelings when reflecting on their most recent purchase, when that shopping had been motivated by a desire to repair mood. (Read the article here).

A retail therapy survey of American men and women conducted by had these results:

  • “51.8% of Americans shop and spend to improve their mood (including 63.9% of women and 39.8% of men)
  • 39.2% of women believe retail therapy improves a person’s mood compared to 20.6% of men”

“Our survey confirms that shopping truly is ‘therapy’ for many people, and can help raise one’s spirits after a bad day. Online shopping makes this pick-me-up only a couple of clicks away,” said CEO, Kevin H. Johnson.

The survey also indicated that:

  • “66.6% of Americans think online shopping provides better retail therapy, than physical shopping — and for the following reasons: Don’t have to leave the house, More convenient, Don’t have to drive, Wider range of stores to browse, Don’t have to lug purchases home, It’s immediate, Don’t have to have anyone see what I bought”

abandoned carts

I further confess that I’m shopping all the time, both online and off. I’m personally responsible for a whole lot of those “abandoned shopping carts” that e-commerce analysts worry so much about. I love to browse. I search for products, use the cart like a bookmark, and may or may not be back depending on what else I find. I also love to shop in retail stores. I’m not sure which method of retail therapy is more effective for lifting my mood. Studies suggest either works.



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