‘Retail therapy’ sessions are costing North Carolinians $825 million, finds study


Most of us would agree that a little ‘retail therapy’ at the end of a hard day lifts our mood, albeit temporarily. However, it appears that millions of Americans are purchasing things online as more of a permanent fix to their mental health struggles. That is, according to a survey by CouponBirds that polled 3,000 consumers on their online purchasing habits.

The survey revealed that almost half (47%) of North Carolinians said they buy things with the sole purpose of making themselves feel better – extrapolated to the adult population, that’s over 3.8 million. The survey also found that each retail therapy session typically costs shoppers an average of $212.95, meaning that North Carolinians collectively spend over $825 million on retail therapy sessions.

When broken down by states, a whopping 83% of Kansans admit to retail therapy, or 1.8 million people. The least dependent on a pile of shiny new purchases to make themselves happier are West Virginians; only 11%, or 159k people, are likely to go on a spending spree.

Perhaps these figures are not surprising… An overwhelming majority of Americans think the country is experiencing a mental health crisis. While in many cases the pandemic was not the cause, experts say that it exacerbated numerous social stressors that led to mental illness.

The research also uncovered how retail therapy is coming at the expense of other, more reputable ways of improving mental health. For example, they found that, given the choice, 45% of respondents are more likely to buy things online than do exercise to lift their mood.