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Shopping Addiction Facts And Statistics 2024

Research on shopping has revealed that while it serves as a necessity in modern life, it also functions as a leisure activity and a form of entertainment, providing a sense of reward for certain individuals. However, when taken to extremes, shopping or excessive buying can become a harmful and destructive behavior for a minority of individuals.

Shopping addiction is identified as a cross-national public health problem, with an estimated prevalence of approximately 5% in the adult population. Whether conducted online or in-person, shopping addiction is categorized as a behavioral addiction, sharing similarities with gambling or alcohol addiction. While many people engage in shopping without succumbing to addiction, there is a subset that develops shopping addiction, also known as onfaiomania, shopaholism, impulsive buying, or compulsive buying disorder (CBD). Individuals grappling with this addiction are commonly referred to as shopaholics or compulsive shoppers.

 As of 2024, shopping addiction remains widespread globally. Here are some key facts to be aware of regarding shopping addiction. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • 4.9% of the global adult population is estimated to have a shopping addiction.
  • Shopping addiction led 51% of consumers to delay financial goals, with 27% postponing debt repayment, resulting in 51% accumulating more debt.
  • 41.7% of shopping addicts face difficulties in meeting payment obligations. 
  • 64% of impulsive online shoppers make purchases at least once a month.
  • 95% of Americans make impulsive purchases in physical stores, overshadowing the 88.6% who do so online.
  • The average American’s impulse spending can add up to $300,000 over a lifetime.
  • Men are more prone to daily impulsive online shopping at 11.0%, while women do so at 4.8%. However, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 22% of women consistently make impulsive purchases, compared to 17% of men.
  • In 2023, the average monthly spending on impulse purchases dropped significantly to $141 from $314 in 2022.
  • In 2023, food/groceries topped the list of impulse purchases, with 47% of impulsive shoppers buying these products.
  • It was reported that 7.6% of patients with shopping addiction have attempted suicide, with risks higher among women, those without family support, and the unemployed.

General Insights

Shopping addiction is a notable concern globally, with an estimated prevalence of among adults. In the U.S., this behavioral disorder particularly affecting adolescents, young adults, and predominantly women. The compulsion to shop impulsively is widespread, with a significant portion of people making spontaneous online and in-store purchases, leading to substantial financial expenditures over time.

graph of impulsive online purchases
  • The overall prevalence of shopping addiction in the global adult population is estimated at 4.9%, based on a range from 3.4% to 6.9% in various studies. 
  • The estimated prevalence of shopping addiction in the U.S. is around 5%, primarily affecting adolescents and young adults. 
  • A significant portion of impulsive online shoppers, comprising 64.0%, tends to make spontaneous purchases at least once a month. 
  • A significant 6.7% of individuals admit to daily impulsive shopping, while over 1 in 5 make weekly impulsive purchases, and 17.9% do so every few months. 
  • Over 50% of online purchases are made impulsively. 
  • The average American makes three impulse purchases each week, totaling about 156 per year. 
  • The average monthly expenditure on impulse purchases amounts to $450, which, when calculated over an adult lifetime, can sum up to more than $300,000. 
  • Despite the popularity of online shopping, impulsive in-store purchases dominate, with 95.0% of Americans admitting to splurging in physical stores, compared to 88.6% at online checkouts.  
  • On average, Americans bid farewell to $85.85 per in-store impulsive purchase, slightly exceeding the per-session expenditure of $81.75 for online shopping.  

Demographic Breakdown Of Shopping Addiction

Impulsive shopping habits vary notably across demographics: men are more prone to impulsive online spending than women, and younger generations, particularly influenced by social media, show higher tendencies towards such behavior. Marital status and regional differences also play a role, with married individuals shopping more frequently and certain states like Florida exhibiting higher rates of daily online shopping.

Gender

  • Interestingly, a higher percentage of men (67.2%) confess to impulsive online spending compared to women (62.6%). 
  • Men tend to spend more money per session on their impulsive online shopping, with an average purchase amounting to $105.35, surpassing the average of $70.97 for women. 
graph of impulsive online spending by Gender

Generations

  • In the U.S., 80% of teens engage in impulsive online buying, while in the UK, consumers spend approximately £1 billion monthly on impulse purchases. 
  • In the same study, Generation Z, influenced by social networking sites and social media celebrities, shows a high tendency towards impulse buying, with 41% identified as impulsive shoppers. 
  • In a separate study, Millennials lead in admitting to impulse spending, with 8.4% likely to have a daily online shopping habit. Following them, 6.1% of Gen X and 1.3% of Baby Boomers engage in daily impulsive online shopping. 
graph of impulsive shopping addiction across generations
  • Baby Boomers spend the most per session in their online impulse shopping, averaging $174.25, which is more than double the expenditures of Millennials at $82.37 and Gen Xers at $65.56. 

Marital Status

  • Individuals married or in a domestic partnership (30.9%) are the most likely to make impulsive online purchases weekly, followed by single individuals (28.9%), those separated (25.0%), divorcees (21.4%), and widows (12.2%). 
  • Separated impulsive shoppers make the highest splurges, spending an average of $113.00 per session, followed by those married or in domestic partnerships ($97.89), single individuals ($69.28), divorcees ($60.84), and widows ($47.94). 
graph of marital status and impulsive shopping behavior

States

  • Florida leads with 13.6% of residents having a daily impulsive online shopping habit, followed by Ohio (11.5%) and Illinois (11.1%), among the 17 qualifying states. 
  • The top three states with the highest averages per session are Florida at $232.87, Michigan at $158.39, and Alabama at $134.23. 

Shopping Behavior Trends

In 2023, there has been a notable decline in impulse buying compared to the previous year, influenced significantly by inflation and a consequent increase in budget-conscious behavior among consumers. This change is also reflected in the types of purchases, with a shift towards necessities and a reduction in purchases driven by FOMO. Additionally, shopping patterns have evolved, with a growing preference for using smartphones for shopping activities.

Chart of monthly impulsive shopping expenditure
  • According to Slickdeals, impulse buys have decreased by 48% in 2023 compared to 2022. 
  • Inflation has been a significant factor affecting shopping habits, with 72% of those surveyed citing it as an influence on their shopping choices, up from 68% in 2022. 
  • A considerable 77% have been more budget-conscious in 2023 due to inflation, with 39% making more impulse purchases on necessities rather than luxuries (19%). 
  • Shopping patterns have also changed, with 48% of respondents in 2023 saying they shop the most from their phones, an increase from 33% in 2022. 
  • The average monthly impulse purchases in 2023 decreased to six, compared to 12 in both 2022 and 2021. As a result, the average monthly spending on impulse purchases fell from $314 in 2022 to $151 in 2023. 
  • In 2022, 73% of respondents admitted most of their purchases were impulsive, whereas in 2023, only 36% reported that most of their purchases were impulsive. 
  • There’s been a shift away from purchases made to avoid the feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out); in 2022, 67% made impulse purchases for this reason, which decreased to 35% in 2023. 

Impulsive Shopper’s Top Purchases

Over recent years, food and groceries have consistently been the most common items bought on impulse, with clothing and household items also ranking high on the list. Technology and coffee remain steady in the top five, while shoes have seen a significant rise in impulsive buying. In contrast, the impulse purchase of vehicles has markedly decreased since 2022. Stable trends are observed in items like takeout and books, whereas spa services and video games have become less frequent choices for impulsive shopping.

Graph of Impulse purchases
  • Food/groceries were consistently the most purchased items on impulse over the three-year span, with percentages slightly decreasing from 47% in 2020 to 48% in 2021 and then to 30% in 2022. 
  • Clothing was the second most impulsive purchase in 2020 (38%) and 2021 (40%), but it became the top impulse purchase in 2022 with 35%. 
  • Household items were also frequently bought on impulse, ranking third each year, with a peak in 2021 at 42% and a slight drop to 29% in 2022. 
  • Technology and coffee consistently rank among the top five impulse purchases over the three years, with slight position shifts. The impulse purchase of shoes saw a notable increase, going from not being in the top ten in 2020 to claiming the fourth spot in 2022 at 28%. 
  • Vehicle purchases decreased significantly, falling from 25% in 2020 to not making the top ten in 2022. Meanwhile, takeout (23%) remained a consistent middle-of-the-list choice, indicating a relatively stable impulse buying trend. 
  • Books have seen a consistent presence but a slight decline from 27% in 2020 to 26% in 2022, and 22% in 2023. 
  • Spa services and video games saw the least impulsive purchases, with spa services dropping out of the top ten in 2022 (compared to 20% in 2021) and video games only appearing in the data in 2020 at 20%. 

Impulsive Buying During Seasonal Sales

The majority of consumers tend to make spontaneous purchases during major seasonal sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with smartphones being the primary shopping device. Shoppers are often influenced by recommendations from influencers, bloggers, friends, and family. Interestingly, females and individuals aged 25 to 34 are more likely to make impromptu purchases during these sales, highlighting the varied shopping behaviors across different demographics.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Purchase Frequency Graph
  • According to a global survey by Kaspersky, 90% of consumers make spontaneous buys during sales events, especially when it comes to big sales events such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. 
  • The smartphone is the most important device for shopping during these sales events, used by 79% of shopaholics. 
  • Only 16% of shoppers avoid sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday because they find them excessive. Despite 46% of shoppers having doubts about whether these events truly offer the best deals, the majority of them still end up making purchases. 
  • In the same report, 58% of shoppers are influenced by the products or deals recommended by influencers and bloggers they follow.
  • For some, the influence of friends and family can change the minds of those who were hesitant to shop during super-sales. When given a strong recommendation by loved ones, 40% of people tend to purchase the recommended item. 
  • When it comes to seasonal sales, 48% of consumers create shopping lists from various vendors but don’t end up buying those items. Additionally, 69% prefer waiting for big sales events in hopes of finding bargains, and 75% plan their larger purchases ahead of time. 
  • Females are more committed super-sales shoppers, with 22% willing to consistently make impulsive purchases during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, compared to only 17% of males. 
  • People aged 25 to 34 are more likely to impulse buy, with 23% saying they consistently make impulse purchases during seasonal events, surpassing other age groups. 

Financial Implications Of Shopping Addiction

Shopping addiction can have significant financial consequences for consumers. Many people who struggle with impulsive shopping find themselves delaying important financial goals and even postponing debt repayment. These unplanned purchases can push individuals further into debt, highlighting the need for better financial management and impulse control when it comes to shopping.

  • While 56% of U.S. consumers had a spending plan, nearly half (49%) admitted that impulse purchases had caused them financial stress. 
  • Consequently, 88% of customers who engaged in online shopping found themselves financially strained due to the frequency of unnecessary and impulsive shopping instances. 
  • Legal and financial consequences affect 8.3% of those with shopping addiction. A similar 8.1% encounter criminal legal problems. 
  • Shopping addiction has caused 51% of consumers to postpone major financial goals, while 27% of impulsive buyers had to delay debt repayment. These unplanned purchases have driven 51% of shopaholics into more significant debt. 
  • Approximately 22% reported that being a shopaholic resulted in delaying building a rainy day fund, and 18% stated it affected their retirement savings. 
  • 55% of these impulsive shoppers resorted to using credit cards for these transactions. 
  • 41.7% of shopping addicts face difficulties in meeting payment obligations. 

Shopping Addiction And Mental Health

Individuals with shopping addiction face significant mental health challenges, as evidenced by a high rate of suicidal ideation. Factors such as gender, lack of family support, and unemployment exacerbate these risks, underscoring the need for comprehensive support and awareness of the mental health implications associated with such addictions.

  • There’s a high rate of suicidal ideation (18.4%) among those with behavioral addictions including shopping addiction. 
  • It was reported that 7.6% of patients with buying/shopping disorder have attempted suicide, with risks higher among women, those without family support, and the unemployed. 

To address shopping addiction, consider these steps:

  1. Recognize the Problem: Acknowledge the impact of shopping addiction on your life.
  2. Track Spending: Keep a record of purchases to understand your spending habits.
  3. Set Budgets: Create a budget that limits discretionary spending.
  4. Cut Off Temptation: Unsubscribe from marketing emails and avoid browsing online stores.
  5. Use Cash: Limit credit card use to control spending, relying on cash or debit cards.
  6. Seek Support: Join support groups or seek addiction therapy to address underlying issues.
  7. Find Alternatives: Engage in activities that fulfill you without spending, like hobbies or spending time with loved ones.
  8. Set Goals: Focus on long-term financial goals to motivate reduced spending.

Consistency and seeking professional help if needed are key to overcoming shopping addiction.

Rubicon Recovery Center
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The Rubicon Editorial Team is a collective of seasoned professionals from The Rubicon, a renowned drug and alcohol treatment center. Comprising addiction counselors, medical experts, therapists, and recovery specialists, our team brings a wealth of diverse experience and compassionate insight to our blog. We are dedicated to providing valuable, research-backed information and practical advice to support individuals on their journey to recovery. Our articles aim to educate, inspire, and empower those affected by addiction, offering a beacon of hope and guidance through the complexities of rehabilitation and wellness.

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