The internet is rife with search results that speculate how revenge shopping will revive a market hit by a global lockdown induced slowdown. Other results show millennials will indulge in retail therapy or revenge spending to beat coronavirus blues once lockdown restrictions are eased in their respective countries. Yet others debate whether India will follow China’s lead in revenge shopping. So, what is this phenomenon termed as revenge shopping (spending) really?
What is revenge shopping or revenge spending?
According to some dictionaries online, the term implies “spending excessively after a period when one has had limited opportunities to spend”. Most of what is being termed as revenge shopping is associated with what Chinese citizens indulged in to beat the coronavirus pandemic blues. According to a Free Press Journal report, revenge shopping “usually refers to the overindulgence to celebrate an occasion or to overcome frustration. It is like getting a chance to party after maintaining restraint for months.”
According to Internet sources, post the lockdown, it was China that witnessed a spurt in buying of merchandise, giving hope to economists and businessmen about a revival of a market hit by a slump. For instance, as per the report cited above, the “French brand Hermes’ Guangzhou flagship store in China reportedly did $2.7 million in sales on the day it reopened in April. This is the biggest single-day shopping at a luxury outlet in China.” Moreover, India also had a glimpse of revenge shopping on the resumption of sale of alcohol across the country.
Why it helps
Shopping is a therapeutic exercise, psychologists say. It eases stress and gives shoppers a sense of well-being and happiness. For many people who feel sad, depressed or scared about circumstances they have no control over, shopping gives a sense of autonomy. For many it is a coping mechanism.
The coronavirus lockdown brought in its wake a spurt of mental health issues for people around the world. There was the fear of contracting the contagious disease coupled with loneliness and ennui in home quarantine which affected people across age groups. So, the best way to release stress and get the feeling of accomplishing tasks and gaining a sense of control over a world stuck in a situation beyond anyone’s control was by shopping, especially for luxury items.
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