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Shopping Addiction

Most people shop as an enjoyable activity. Sadly, some shop as an obsession, and for a few are addicted to spending. Up to 350,000 people are shopping addicts in the UK. More women suffer from compulsive shopping than men. The good news is that shopaholics can be professionally treated. Do you know a possible shopaholic? 


Compulsive shopping v Impulsive shopping

  • Impulsive buying refers to a sudden urge to buy something immediately and the urge to possess it.
  • Compulsive shopping is the urge to purchase, rather than to urge to possess. 

Why Shopaholics keep on spending?

  • A shopping addict experiences cravings which intensify and can only be fixed making purchases, while shopping; even when money is short.
  • After negative feelings, such as arguing with a loved one or a difficult situation at work may leave the shopaholic feeling low, frustrated, or anxious. These feelings can be relieved by buying.

Types of shopping addicts

Mnay shopping addicts can be placed in several categories. They could be:

  1. Bargain-seekers compulsively buying products which are on sale, as the win provides relief.
  2. Show-offs seeking rewards from the impression they make on others through high-value or extravagant purchases.
  3. Trophy hunters searching for the best and/or rarest items to buy. The search and the satisfaction gained are fundamental.
  4. Collectors wanting different iterations or versions of the same item. The addiction is fuelled by the act of collecting.
  5. Self-medicators using shopping to cope with a negative mood or difficult situations.
  6. Shopping bulimics making large or frequent purchases before returning them to receive refunds, ensuring no financial consequences.

Across the last Black Friday weekend (2022), experts reckon the average spend per consumer was £238. The overall spend on Black Friday bargains is estimated to be £7.5bn. Consumers shopped for electricals (51%), fashion (32%) and Christmas stocking fillers (28%). Retailers use Black Friday to engage with their customers and remove excess stock with discounts. However, retailers are not aware of the shopping addicts.

ChildMax continues to ensure your salary and pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave, caring for a sick child. It starts from £49.50 or for easy budgeting an initial payment of £8.25 followed by 11 monthly payments of £3.75.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.

Important: if worried about your or a family members’ shopping habits, then speak to one of the many charities that have recovery programmes. Help for shopping addiction isn’t typically available on the NHS.


Date: 13 March 2023 by Max Robinson