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Monday, October 17, 2011

A Nation of Shop-o-holics

Nothing good ever happens past midnight, the so called witching hour. Growing up, I received countless lectures on the dangers of the so called trouble hour. Legend has is it, that a midnight, things change, people change and impulses are mythically heightened. The day no longer belongs to us. What happens though, when the witching hour changes and transforms itself into a daylight intoxication? The heightened impulse of  midnight has found a new time to dominate and a new venue for seduction.

The once; exclusive fashion sample sale, has been moved online and made accessible to any person with a accesses to the Internet and a valid credit card. In the US Internet shopping is a $111 billion industry., and, are just a few of many online flash sale sites that offer shoppers amazing discounts on high end goods. 

Statistics Canada indicates that most common purchase online are Travel Services, Entertainment products, and Fashion related goods. Flash sale sites, confuse us on the concept of value and price. The massive variance between sale and non-sale items leaves us with a constant feeling of cognitive dissonance (buyers remorse), and an urge to click. The lure, of the sale and the anonymity of online shopping is addictive; there is adrenalin associated with the feeling or believe that you have beaten the system. 

Psychology Today, did an article about the seduction of and appeal of compulsive shopping. The research suggested that the Internet is a strong trigger for compulsive buyers. The variety of products and the ability to purchase on-observed and the instant gratification is the hook; the fear of missing out an amazing buy further compliments the seduction technique of online shopping. 

Over the past five years, with the advance of and mass acceptance of E-shopping, credit card debt has risen. In the US, with a population of 330 million, there are more that 610 million credit cards issues. The average person of age to own a credit card has 3-4, all with a 14% or higher annual interest rate.  It estimated that the average credit card debt in the states is $15,799, and that many card holders use the available finds from one card to pay off the debt on another. 

Consumer protection groups have recently began to lobby against flash sales sites and other online shopping retailers. It is believed that in the near future, online shopping will be accompanied by "responsible shopping," adverts and promotions. 

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