Do you hide your purchases so that no one sees them? Do you have trouble keeping track of your budget? Are you running out of room to store all your purchases? If you answered yes to the above questions, you might have an addiction to the 21st century’s latest trend: online shopping.
It is not surprising why online shopping is the preferred method of shopping for most people today. With search engines that can look for anything you want at any time, the lack of queues, and the ease of price comparison, it certainly beats going out to the store to get your necessities, especially in the cold winter.
Nevertheless, growing research by psychotherapists at Hannover Medical School in Germany states that online shopping addiction is real and could correlate with higher levels of depression and anxiety. ‘Buying-shopping disorder,’ the term given to extreme preoccupations with and craving for shopping and identity-seeking urges to possess consumer goods, might have its own classification as a ‘mental health condition’ due to the numerous youths experiencing the addiction in recent years.
Aside from its psychological implications, the question of how green online shopping is comes to mind. On the surface, shopping online may seem good for the environment: it eliminates the need for car trips and associated vehicular emissions. However, the fleets of delivery trucks that are required to transport your shopping from warehouses to homes contribute substantially to the burden of fine particulate matter, which is associated with significant adverse effects on human health.
Moreover, to meet the needs of millions of online shoppers, big brands have succumbed to fast fashion to deliver clothing trends manufactured quickly – through synthetic fabrics – and inexpensively – from countries with terrible working conditions – to yield as much profit as fast as possible.
With Black Friday just around the corner and internet sales projected to increase, it is important to ask ourselves whether it would be better instead to visit charity shops over simply “adding items to cart.”