Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the emotions young compulsive buyers experience while shopping. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted a digital ethnography study by communicating with 22 young compulsive buyers for two weeks using their cell phones while they were engaged in the shopping activity. Findings – The results show that the emotions experienced by compulsive buyers are much more complex than previously thought. The emotions young consumers go through during the shopping process are not predominantly negative or positive. Instead, young consumers move up and down on an emotional continuum during shopping. The trigger involved with the emotions is linked to finding a bargain. A bargain is defined as a good deal, or a situation in which the consumers perceive they get mental satisfaction from their purchase. If young compulsive shoppers find a bargain, they feel pride, happiness, and goal achievement. However, if they do not manage to find a bargain, they feel disappointed, sad, and unsuccessful. Research limitations/implications – This study was focused on adolescent consumers. Although this age group is considered suitable for conducting a study of compulsive buying, the results cannot be generalized to other age groups. Originality/value – Compared to previous studies, the paper uncovers emotions and emotional shifts in much greater detail, providing new insights to the phenomenon of compulsive buying, considering the range of emotions that consumers experience, and the triggers involved with their emotional shifts.
Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2008
Keywords: Young adults; Individual behaviour; Consumers; Buying behaviour; Shopping; Consumer psychology