Good news for retailers and shoppers: "retail therapy" does make you happy

June 20, 2011

According to an article in the UK Daily Mail, it’s official: shopping does make you happy. The article cites a new study that says buying something nice has “a lasting positive impact on mood” with “few if any negative emotional side-effects.”

The study, from the Journal of Psychology and Marketing, was based on hundreds of interviews at shopping centers as well as diaries kept by shoppers recording shopping habits and moods. It concluded that “Retail therapy purchases were overwhelmingly beneficial, leading to mood boosts and no regrets or guilt.”

Among the study's other findings, 62 percent of participants said they shopped to cheer themselves up. Additionally, 28 percent of participants admitted they bought items to celebrate

The authors of the study, Selin Atalay and Margaret Meloy, said their findings could prove useful for retailers.

“It is not suggested here that every retailer suddenly make a small treat item available at checkout to tempt consumers, or that mall planners strategically locate candy stores near every mall exit,” the authors said. “What is suggested is that perhaps practitioners have it 'right' when they appeal to consumers with slogans that encourage them to buy themselves splurges.”

The study did admit its findings should be viewed with some caution as those who participated were “self-selecting,” meaning shoppers in good moods were more likely to respond.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Customer Experience , Marketing

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