Compulsive Buyers and the Emotional Rollercoaster in Shopping

Compulsive buying has traditionally been likened to a vicious circle, in which consumers experience negative feelings before shopping, positive feelings during shopping, and negative feelings after completing the activity. The purpose of this study was to broaden the perspective on the emotions compulsive shoppers go through while shopping by examining the feelings they have before, during, and after the shopping activity simultaneously to while the activity is occurring. A three-step methodology was employed to reach the goal of the study: an online questionnaire, a digital ethnography study, and personal interviews. The findings indicate that compulsive shoppers' emotions can be more likened to a rollercoaster ride than to a vicious circle. Compulsive shoppers experience both positive and negative emotions during all of the shopping activity. The emotions can quickly switch if the compulsive shoppers feel they have succeeded or failed in their shopping in terms of finding something worth buying (“a bargain”). The findings show that compulsive shoppers are more emotionally volatile than previously assumed, and are also emotionally dependent on reaching their shopping goals in terms of finding a bargain.


Anna Saraneva and Maria Saaksjarvi (2007) ,"Compulsive Buyers and the Emotional Rollercoaster in Shopping", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Stefania Borghini, Mary Ann McGrath, and Cele Otnes, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 348-349.


Anna Saraneva, Hanken- Swedish School of Economics, Finland
Maria Saaksjarvi, Hanken- Swedish School of Economics, Finland


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2007

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