Academic journal article Researchers World

Marketing Perspective on Compulsive Buying: A Theoretical Framework

Academic journal article Researchers World

Marketing Perspective on Compulsive Buying: A Theoretical Framework

Article excerpt


In the past few years, the sarcasm, expression and diversion of thoughts towards retail therapy and its extreme implications has become a topic of discussion in not just one but many countries. Statements such as "I am compulsive shopper", "When the going gets tough, the tough goes shopping" are seen to be applicable and used extensively in the different economic strata of the society. According to (Magee, 1994, Black 1996; 2007) there are about 18 million people in America whose life has become out of their control largely because of getting entangled in the cobweb of the process of shopping. They are no less than substance abusers as they do not have any control over their buying behaviour. They get a different kind of high by buying merchandise, whether they need it or no.

In the history of research, it is a very recent development where researchers have attempted to investigate the detrimental social, psychological and financial consequences of the ever increasing compulsive buyers in the world around (Bragg, 2009).

According to (Kerin et al., 2011), this is a marketing era which focusses upon social responsibilities like never before. In this scenario, if marketers divert their focus deliberately or unintentionally towards increased consumption among the already trapped compulsive buyers who are stuck in a financial web where they cannot pay for their purchases, it may not be a very pleasant outcome. Potential harms in terms of personal, psychological and financial health could be seen. The financial institutions have simplified their credit policies. The interconnected impact has brought the retail institutions, consumers as well as the economy of the country subject to this increasing debt by the financial institutions that is multiplying and is non collectable (Bragg, 2009).

A lot of recent surge and discussions have gained momentum worldwide over the issue of the mounting debt of the college students. The housing crisis that was the cause of the global recession in the year 2012 has brought to the surface the negative consequences of hoarding and compulsive buying. In a recent research by Pham, Yap and Dowling (2012) it has been found that high level of academic stress , excessive use of credit card (Lo and Harvey, 2011) and high credit card debt(Brougham, Jacobs - Lawson, Hershey, & Trujillo, 2011; Joireman, Kees, & Sprott, 2010) by have a strong link with compulsive buying. It is a normal routine behaviour for a normal person to buy day to day routine products as per need or desire but the case does not remain the same with a compulsive buyer. In their case they face severe inability to control their desire to make purchase irrespective of their circumstances. This may lead to most dire consequences. What is important to note here is that reason for purchase by a compulsive buyer is not utility of the purchase but the temporary psychological elation one receives from the process of owning a product.

The past two decades have been a witness to array of researches specific to consumer behaviour that have brought forth the phenomenon of compulsive buying in a negative light not just for an individual but for the society on a larger perspective. (O'Guinn & Faber, 1989; Weaver, Moschis, & Davis, 2011).

The consequences that are mostly seen are that compulsive buyers, irrespective of the nature of purchase are under insurmountable debts that become the cause for financial as well as psychological problems. They don't just trap themselves in this cobweb but also end up entangling their families. It becomes a vicious circle and they end up causing a problem for their creditors. This problem expands and spreads out from an individual problem to a larger case of concern. It is thus important to go into the depth of this devising intervention mechanism and find ways and means by which it c ould be not just managed but also controlled. In an analysis to focus towards compulsive buying as a serious concern and its various causes a lot of literature has been found centred on the contribution made by the forever developing marketing techniques by companies to augment their sales. …

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