Is online shopping the next danger zone for compulsive buyers?

It might be easier to kick our shopping addictions if the temptations existed only outside our of homes, but with the growing popularity of online shopping, we’re not even safe there.

Though there are several papers that focus on compulsive shopping, not as many have factored into their research the impact of online shopping. However, I recently read a paper by Susan Rose and Arun Dhandayudham that focused on just this. They explored some of the positive and negative feelings people experienced when online shopping, and how might these emotions trigger a compulsive buying binge.

This study cites seven variables that can predict the likelihood of someone developing an online shopping addiction: low self-esteem, low self-regulation, negative emotional state, enjoyment, female gender, social anonymity, and cognitive overload. The main finding of their research was that, just like with regular shopping addictions, the actual experience of shopping online may provoke enough negative behaviours that a shopping addiction is induced.

These results weren’t necessarily surprising, but important to be shared nevertheless. If you have any clients (or perhaps you yourself) whose main downfall comes when shopping online, sharing these findings with them may be beneficial to their treatment plan.

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More