Resorting to Retail Therapy amidst lockdown

Checking yet another top, shoe, gadget online? This may be your way of coping with Lockdown.

Stockpiling is a way to control emotions. It helps you feel prepared and secured, and gives you a sense of control amidst all the uncertainty. This was evidently observed when people started panic buying for essentials immediately after the lockdown was announced.

The study suggests that when anxious, our minds behave irrationally. And considering today’s times, we have numerous channels to induce anxiety. Every time you log in to social media account or switch on a news channel, all you see is the updates on increasing spread of the pandemic, the images of empty shelves of the supermarket, articles about people suffering due to economic downturn and the list goes on.

To further fuel this anxiety, there is a lack of clear communication. While the government tries and assures you to cooperate and be safe and things shall be taken care of; what you hear from vendors and clients, and associates are that there is no near end to the lockdown and things will keep getting worse.

When anxiety peaks and you need a source to self soothe, considering that there is not much to do or anywhere to go; people turn to the shopping apps and sites. That’s retail therapy. In this situation, buying you a ‘non-essential’ seems like a luxury. It can be something as simple as a top, an accessory, a shoe, a book. While being denied all usual comforts and activities, buying these items give a sense of normalcy.

As people are now spending more time than ever on their devices, those targeted ads are that much more alluring. Earlier this month, Amazon announced it would be hiring 75,000 more workers to cope with demand.

Numerous studies reinforce the learning that shopping non-essential items boost your mood because it promotes the surge of feel-good hormones in the body. Professor Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London, says that “You get a dopamine hit with shopping, and in fact, the dopamine hit seems to be associated with the contemplation of buying something new, so the act of doing it, rather than the thing turning up.” However, that’s not to say that you won’t get another kick when parcels actually start arriving post lockdown. With almost all shopping sites being Search Engine Optimized, there is hardly anything that would not find.

The most looked and purchased items are:

Home Furnishings and Kitchen Equipment – People spending time at home intend to make it a better and happier place. They feel the urge to make life at home pleasant and easier.

Gardening Supplies – Out of the many activities one can pursue while being quarantined, Gardening is perhaps the most calming and full filling one. Supplies available at home + YouTube videos on ‘how to grow your kitchen garden’, really calls out to your inner nature lover. You intend to continue this art and hence go ahead and buy seeds, pots, fertilizers, and balcony decor items.

Beauty Supplies, Fashion Accessories, and Apparels – Sure, all are excited and eager to be out again, and when they are finally able to do it, all want to make the best of it. Hence the time now is being spent on buying all that’s about self-care, better looks, party time, and evolved self-image.

“It’s the browsing that rewards the brain when shopping, rather than the product itself, we might feel compelled to repeat the cycle for the same stimulation. “That’s possibly why it gets a bit more addictive.”

Prof. Scott

So good news for all the brands offering sale right now! It more than ever possible that you shall be picked – left, right, and centre (especially if operating in one of the above segment of supplies)

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With anything that people find relaxing, calming and a piece of a normal routine, you’re going to get more of it if people can do it; and picking up your phone or computer and being able to shop online is an extremely easy way for people to do that, so it would make a lot of sense for online shopping graphs to have gone up in frequency.

Eventually, there will be a shift in products that people are buying during the pandemic and only time and studies can suggest the extent of the upsurge in online spend and changing consumer behaviours.

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