Online shopping addiction, also known as compulsive buying disorder, is a behavioral addiction that involves excessive and uncontrollable spending on online purchases, often resulting in financial, social, and psychological problems.
According to a 2023 study by the National University of Singapore (NUS), online shopping addiction affects about 10% of Singaporeans, with Gen Zers being the most vulnerable group.
Gen Zers, typically born between 1997 and 2012, are the digital natives who grew up with the internet and social media. They are also the most avid online shoppers in Singapore, with 72% preferring to shop online, and 45% making purchases through social media, according to a 2023 report by Meta and Bain & Company. Gen Zers are drawn to the convenience, variety, and entertainment of online shopping, especially on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which offer features such as live streaming, shoppertainment, and nano influencers.
However, these features also pose risks and challenges for Gen Zers, as they may trigger or exacerbate online shopping addiction. Live Streaming and shoppertainment create a sense of urgency and excitement that may lead to impulsive buying.
Nano influencers, who are content creators with a small but loyal following, may influence Gen Zers to buy products that they do not need or cannot afford. Social media also exposes Gen Zers to peer pressure and social comparison, which may affect their self-esteem and drive them to seek validation and happiness through online shopping.
The consequences and solutions of online shopping addiction
Online shopping addiction can have serious and lasting consequences for Gen Zers, both individually and collectively. Individually, online shopping addiction can cause financial distress, debt, and bankruptcy, as well as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and guilt. Online shopping addiction can also affect Gen Zers’ relationships, productivity, and health, as they may neglect their family, friends, work, and well-being.
Collectively, online shopping addiction can have negative impacts on society and the environment. Online shopping addiction can contribute to the problem of overconsumption and waste, as well as the exploitation of workers and resources. Online shopping addiction can also undermine the values and norms of the society, such as thrift, responsibility, and moderation.
To address the issue of online shopping addiction, Gen Zers need to seek help and support from various sources, such as family, friends, counselors, therapists, and support groups. They also need to adopt healthy and positive coping strategies, such as setting a budget, tracking their spending, deleting shopping apps, limiting their screen time, finding alternative hobbies, and practicing mindfulness.
Moreover, Gen Zers need to be aware and critical of the influences and pressures of social media, and to develop a sense of self-worth and purpose that is not dependent on online shopping.
Online shopping addiction is a growing concern for Gen Z in Singapore, as it affects their well-being, happiness, and future. Online shopping addiction is not a trivial or harmless habit, but a serious and complex disorder that requires attention and intervention.
Online shopping addiction is not only a personal problem, but also a social and environmental problem that requires collective action and responsibility. Online shopping addiction is not inevitable, but preventable and treatable, if Gen Zers are willing and able to change their behavior and mindset.