The Surprising Reason why Online Shopping is So Addictive
Whether conducted in a physical store or done entirely online, shopping, much like other addictive foods, substances, or vices, causes the human body to release dopamine. Dopamine is neurotransmitter that is responsible for enabling the human body to feel pleasure. But if all shopping sprees cause our bodies to release dopamine, why is online shopping so addictive?
Simply put, the surprising reason why online shopping is addictive is that humans typically experience a double dose of dopamine when online shopping. Online shoppers first feel a rush of dopamine when they make an online purchase. Then, they feel a second rush of dopamine when the online order arrives.
In this way, online shoppers are surprised and delighted twice by the same purchase. In comparison, someone shopping in a physical store will only feel a rush of dopamine once. Why? These shoppers often immediately leave the store with their spoils.
Given my own experiences with online shopping, I understand why this is the reason that online shopping is addictive.When I frantically ordered the February 2020 TrendMood Box I felt a rush of dopamine after successfully completing my order. Then, when the box arrived I felt another wave of excitement hit me.
The double dose of excitement that I experience after online shopping is typical – especially when I’m able to successfully purchase a hyped-up product that sold out quickly. There is a thrill in being able to successfully order such coveted items.
Beyond Being Addictive, Why is Excessive Online Shopping So Bad?
TAlthough it is important to understand what makes online shopping addictive, simply understanding this point is not enough. Consumers need to understand and counteract the ramifications of overconsumption.
According to this video produced by the Atlantic, online shopping creates an excessive amount of waste. How so? Nine out of ten online shoppers rarely or never make returns. Instead,the unused items collect dust in homes, in storage units, or make their way into donation bins and landfills.
Fun fact: Americans toss out 81 lbs of clothing or textiles a year on average. Even larger amounts of plastic are dumped yearly.
Shipping: Overnight and two-day shipping leads to the production of excessive carbon emissions due to increased fuel usage. Packages being overnighted require quicker means of transportation than the standard mail transported by vehicles. In other words, airplanes are needed.
Waste: Online shopping typically produces more packaging-related waste than in-store shopping. Plastic, bubble wrap, and other protective materials that are discarded after an online order arrives. Even if these materials are successfully sorted into recycling bins, there is still a high likelihood that they will not be reused or reworked.
Resource burden: Excessive online shopping puts a taxing burden on resources as individuals from wealthier nations consume much more than is necessary.
The ease, speed, and affordability of online shopping makes it easier to shop without pausing to think about potential negative ramifications.
Check out the below YouTube video from the Atlantic: