If you are a woman, the chances are, you love shopping. But what is it exactly that triggers the sense of happiness when buying things? Including the things we don’t need.


Women’s love for shopping may seem irrational to most men. However, there is a reasonable scientific explanation for the shopping fever known as “the gatherer instinct”. It dates back to our ancestors when men were the hunters and women the gatherers. It’s only natural that women are prone to comparing items and selecting the best – it is in our genes.

Here are a few other reasons why we love buying things.

  • Scarcity impulse

This one is also based on an instinct, this time – survival instinct. Back in the day hunters and gatherers had to grab whatever they could when they had a chance, because the opportunity wasn’t always there. As a result, when we see something in limited availability or on a limited time offer, our scarcity impulse kicks in.

  • Sense of control

It turns out that retail therapy is a real thing. And the main explanation for it is feeling in control when making the decision to buy or not to buy. No need to say that the more difficult is the choice, the more pleasant the outcome.

  • Feeling of ownership

Research has shown that simply touching an item causes the sense of ownership, as well as fear of loss. This is exactly why car dealers encourage you to take a test drive – they know you will get emotionally attached.

  • Desire to impress

Our need to impress is caused by our pride and competitive spirit, which, in turn, has something to do with survival instinct. Not to mention how good it feels to make others jealous, right?

  • Feeding the habit

If you are in a habit of looking around or shopping for fun every time you have nothing better to do, no wonder it makes you less bored feeling better about yourself.

  • Sense of necessity

But do you really need it or did you convince yourself that you need it? Research shows that we base our decisions on emotions and later rationalize them. And what can be more satisfying than satisfying the need?

  • Dealing with depression

While retail therapy may be useful in some rare cases, the worst time to go shopping is when you are depressed. Because there is such thing as financially driven depression, you can put yourself at risk of only falling deeper.

  • Getting a free gift

Free gift is another marketing trick that plays on our scarcity impulse. Even though we learned from our parents that nothing is free, how can we miss something that makes us feel like winners?

  • Sense of security

Having more stuff subconsciously makes us feel more secure. It might have something to do with certain products being advertised as “investment pieces”.

  • Feeling proud of yourself

Every medium size purchase comes with the sense of pride for being able to afford it. Why else would you be working all these years if not for treating yourself and your ego once in awhile?

  • Cheering yourself up / Celebrating

If you had a bad day, it’s only fair to cheer yourself up with something pretty and new. And if you had a great day full of achievements – there is a reason to celebrate!

  • Gift giving

Have you noticed how great it feels to give a gift? The reason is that our brain doesn’t distinguish between doing something nice for yourself and another person – it releases same amount of serotonin in both cases. So happy gifting!

  • Changing your life

You truly believe that a certain item can make your life better. Can it? Probably not, but the idea will keep you happy for a while.

Here you have it: more than enough reasons to plan your next shopping trip. Just remember to choose wisely!


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