Survey reveals share of panic buyers in Russia

About 10% of Russians tend to make irrational purchases in response to bad news; 20% indulge in compulsive spending, while 25% use shopping as a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression, according to a survey by the Higher School of Economics National Research University.

One in about ten Russians is prone to panic buying in response to unsettling news, and one in four admits to having episodes of compulsive shopping – buying items they don’t really need, or even want, because the act of buying things gives them a boost of happiness. These are the findings of an HSE survey presented by First Vice Rector Vadim Radayev, Head of the HSE Economic and Sociological Research Lab, during a seminar, RBC reports.

The HSE team explored emotional spending by interviewing buyers in 55 Russian regions in June and July 2023. They surveyed a total of 6,000 people.

According to Radayev, emotional spending, or buying things during a period of heightened emotions, is fairly common, but it becomes more pronounced in times of external shocks, “when stress, depression, and frustration build up.”

Shopping in this state is emotionally satisfying, but such actions lead to higher spending and can provoke depressive episodes, the expert pointed out.

“Ten percent of post-COVID panic buyers sounds believable. But 25% of shopaholics – I doubt that,” notes economist Sergei Khestanov, Associate Professor at RANEPA. “That’s just too many.”

According to the experts, compulsive buying is further provoked by convenient marketplaces where users can shop for relatively cheap goods online, and often buy stuff they don’t actually need.

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