The link between stress and physical health is well documented, but what hasn't been appreciated until now is the connection between emotional wellbeing and consumer behaviour – and the role this plays in our lives.
To look into this further, MoneySuperMarket partnered with consumer behavior experts MindLab to explore the psychology of spending. The month-long study combined state-of-the-art "choice architecture" techniques with interviews and quantitative data to assess the spending attitudes of 2,500 Britons, producing the first ever Buying Mood Index which mapped patterns of behavior to an individual’s state of mind
By looking at the spending habits of hundreds of Brits, we found that stress was the most expensive emotion, revealing that stressed shoppers routinely spend up to 15 per cent more than those who are happy. The most popular items for stressed spenders to splurge on were snack food, new clothing and takeaways.
The experiment found that some people are inherently more prone to emotional overspending than others. Participants in the trial were scored between 18.5 – 40 depending on their level of overspending. Participants who scored between between 18.5 - 24.9 fell into a ‘healthy range’, meaning their shopping habits aren’t affected by their mood.
Those scoring 25 - 29.9 were defined as ‘mild emotional spenders’, meaning their mood sometimes affects their spending, with those in the 30 - 39.9 range likely to spend more when feeling emotional. Anyone scoring over 40 was considered a ‘severe emotional spender’ and prone to serial buying behaviour when in a heightened state of emotion.