The Psychology Behind Consumer Spending—5 Reasons We Shop & 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy

The Psychology Behind Consumer Spending 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy

When asked why we like to shop, most of us would agree that buying just makes us feel good. And we’re not far off. According to scientific studies, buying actually activates pleasure centers in the brain, prompting the release of feel good chemicals, including dopamine that elevate mood and make us want to repeat the behavior over and over.

The Science of Shopping

The reward that we hope will be waiting at the end of our shopping experience is the feeling we hold in our mind. According to research published in Psychology Today, we draw pleasure from either “experiencing what we bought”, or from reaching a goal that preceded our purchase.

All sales are not created equal however. It’s much harder to get an emotional payoff when spending money on something we need (such as a colonoscopy) versus something we want (clothes, electronics, entertainment). Still, more frequent small purchases are said to satisfy us more than one major purchase made at the end of a long waiting period, while saving up.


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