This feature in the Spanish magazine,  Revista ¡#HOLA!, @HOLA, was published last month. It’s concerned with fashion consumer behaviour and how we can break potentially harmful fashion habits. The article is available here for my Spanish speaking friendsand below in English (not an exact translation).

Enjoy and do let me know if you have other fashion shopping habits or tips to share on the blog. #psychology #fashion #consumerbehaviour

Ir de rebajas por la mañana y otros consejos de una psicóloga para comprar mejor


Hola: Would you recommend a specific time of the day to go shopping (in the
morning, in the afternoon …)? Why? For important or ethical decisions, the best time is the morning when you have more energy and better self-control. Our ability to manage our self-control depletes over the day, but if you’re facing a tough
decision, make sure you eat before deciding. It makes sense then that we can make good decisions at any
time of the day of we’re energised.

Hola: What can happen when we feel sad and go shopping? We may be tempted to buy something and regret it afterwards. The pleasure we get from searching for something we want and buying it is transitory and often disappears soon after we’ve made the purchase. We can also be put off buying something important and return with nothing because we don’t have the
mental energy to wait in the queue (line) to pay for it. We can also be upset by service that would
normally not bother us. Window shopping is a good solution as you can see the objects and imagine
owning them, but can’t make purchases you might later regret. Research suggest that going for a walk in a
park or taking some exercise is a far better strategy for improving mood than trying to ameliorate sadness
with ‘retail therapy’.

Hola: And when are we euphoric? Euphoria can be experienced when we are under the influence of some drugs (particularly addictive ones) social activities, exercise laughter, music and so on. We can also experience through shopping, but
when the desire for euphoria gets out of hand the activity that induces it becomes addictive. We see
this in compulsive shopping when the desire for spending is out of control and once the purchase is
made, the individual feels regretful and often returns the item which gives them an additional
opportunity to shop. Euphoria is short-lived and we are driven to repeat the experience.

Hola: Why do many people who use shopping as a way of escaping when they feel sad or stressed? Because the act of shopping temporarily relieves these feelings, but doesn’t solve the underlying issues.

Hola: How could they break this habit? They could channel their energy elsewhere such as through exercise or doing something for someone else. This has been found to be one of the best ways to lift mood.

Hola: What are your 3 key tips to avoid irrational shopping or over-shopping? 

1 Go for a walk in nature, do some exercise or take time for your hobby (reading, playing or listening to music, painting etc.)

2 Do something for someone else or with someone else (but not shopping!)

3 Take a fresh look at what you already have and sort out what items make you feel good and which you’ll
never wear again. Make 3 piles of your clothes: one for the good things, one for the clothes you’ll never
wear (again) and one for those you’re unsure if I want to get rid of yet. You can come back to them later
and do the same 3 piles. This way you’ll find you already have some items you love. Wear them with pride
and confidence. This will be reflected back to you.

Hola: Do you think we should buy clothes because they are a trend if we are not 100% sure that they fit our
style? Why? It’s hard for us to know what suits us if we just follow fashion. It would be better to be guided
by how we ‘feel’ in what we wear. If we’re confident and comfortable in it, anything can be our style.

Hola: If we have some doubts about shopping for an item, what would it mean? Should we buy it or not? Why? The ability to return means that there’s no risk in buying and often it’s easier to make a decision at home when you can try it on with other items you already own and you can also ask friends or family members
to comment on how it looks. I would say, if it’s a one-off item, buy it. If it’s very expensive and not easy to
return, then think about it carefully…eat and rest before deciding (as in Q1). If it’s something quite
ordinary such as a white T shirt or black jumper and you have similar others at home, I’d say if you have
doubt, it’s a no.

Hola: What effect does a colorful ‘sale’ poster produce on the consumer’s mind? Why does it encourage us to buy
more? Everyone likes a bargain and we can be enticed very easily by seeing ‘reduced by…’ or signs that say ‘save 50%’, when of course we are spending, not saving. Often sales encourage us to buy when we don’t need
anything. It’s sometimes as much about the thrill of getting the acquisition as much as owning the item.
People tend to buy more in sales because the sale item isn’t exactly what they wanted, therefore not
satisfying. There is also FOMO on an amazing deal even if you wouldn’t have bought the item before it
was reduced. Then there’s the feeling of competing with other shoppers, and the desire the win (as eBay
knows very well) is very motivating so the bigger the crowd, the greater the buzz. Because the pressure of
sales is emotionally charged, shoppers feel disappointed if they don’t make a purchase so they will buy
anything to resolve this.