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Do you believe in retail therapy?

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Posted at 6:50 AM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 07:50:55-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Prime day is July 11-12 and that means Americans are shopping for deals or they’re just doing a little retail therapy.

Corderro McMurry spoke to an expert to find out why folks use shopping as therapy.

A new study from Smarty, a popular online shopping rewards app, shows 58% of American adults say they’ve engaged in retail therapy to cope with stress or anxiety.

“100%! Every single time me or my friend are even stressed or sad at all, we immediately go shopping,” shopper Kya Levings said.

Another 70% think retail therapy can have a positive impact on mental health.

“Most of the time, I’m stressed, nervous. I have a lot of stuff on my mind, and I just want to go and shop. I just feel it makes me happy,” Angelina Alvarez said, who was shopping at the mall.

Amit Kumar, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in marketing and psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. He said he thinks people believe in the idea of retail therapy that exists in their mind but questions whether it’s as therapeutic as people think.

“The pursuit of those goods doesn’t necessarily make us feel better. Sometimes we even feel lonelier after we’ve even done that. So, it’s not clear that at least the pursuit of material items is being as therapeutic as some people might suspect,” Kumar, Ph.D. said.

If the things we buy are to cover up what’s inside or how we feel. Why do we take part in retail therapy?

“Because we’re trying to feel good. We’re trying to feel positive; we’re seeking out happiness we are pursuing things that we think are going to make us feel happy,” Kumar, Ph.D. said.

“I think it’s nice and relaxing, and it just gives you a little bit of exercise and just to see what trends are out now,” shopper Teri Owen said.

Kumar said buying things can create happiness for some people. Through his research, he said, people find more satisfaction through “experiential purchases.”

“So, when people are spending their money on tickets to events or meals at restaurants or travel to places, those sorts of purchases seem to advance our well-being more than material goods,” Kumar, Ph.D. said.