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Shopping: Not Just for Women Anymore

Posted February. 04, 2006 04:35,   


The British novel, “Shopaholic” is the story of a shopaholic who became a credit delinquent due after turning to shopping to escape from unhappiness. The novel made the New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller lists last year.

Shopping addiction, which occurs when people become addicted to the happy and pleased feeling they get when they buy things, is no longer a women-only phenomenon. Recently, the number of male shoppers has been increasing. More male shoppers are especially interested in online shopping because they can do so in private.

Lee Ho-min, a 28-year-old office worker and Internet shopaholic, said, “I felt embarrassed when I shopped at shopping malls, but I don’t have to look around while I shop online. I use an online shopping mall several times a day. Shopping is a habit and good for self-satisfaction.”

Some 45 percent of customers at GS E-shop, an Internet shopping mall, are male. Male shoppers are diversifying purchases from IT products to fashion items and food. They spend an average of 132,000 won per purchase, far more than women who spend, on average, 86,000 won each purchase.

The number of male customers who enjoy shopping at brick and mortar shops, including department stores, is increasing along with the number of male online shoppers.

No Shopping DNA for Men?-

In 1998, British psychologist David Lewis presented a study that showed when shopping at a department store crowded with people around the Christmas season, men are stressed to a level as severe as one would expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat or a policeman suppressing a riot.

But men who dislike department stores probably would not complain about spending hours at Yongsan electronics stores in Seoul. In other words, men do not hate shopping itself.

The reason why men are known to be reluctant shoppers is the so-called “hunting instinct,” according to psychologists. Men tend to think that shopping is a waste of time unless they have a specific reason to do so.

They can spend hours shopping at electronics stores without thinking they are wasting their time because they can build knowledge about the products. Yet when they shop for fashion items, they cannot explain why they are shopping.