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Young compulsive buyers and the emotional roller‐coaster in shopping

Anna Saraneva (Campaign Manager at Lumene Cosmetics, Espoo, Finland)
Maria Sääksjärvi (Assistant Professor of Consumer Behavior in the Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands and Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Marketing, HANKEN – Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Delft, The Netherlands.)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 13 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the emotions young compulsive buyers experience while shopping.


The authors conducted a digital ethnography study by communicating with 22 young compulsive buyers for two weeks using their cell phones while they were engaged in the shopping activity.


The results show that the emotions experienced by compulsive buyers are much more complex than previously thought. The emotions young consumers go through during the shopping process are not predominantly negative or positive. Instead, young consumers move up and down on an emotional continuum during shopping. The trigger involved with the emotions is linked to finding a bargain. A bargain is defined as a good deal, or a situation in which the consumers perceive they get mental satisfaction from their purchase. If young compulsive shoppers find a bargain, they feel pride, happiness, and goal achievement. However, if they do not manage to find a bargain, they feel disappointed, sad, and unsuccessful.

Research limitations/implications

This study was focused on adolescent consumers. Although this age group is considered suitable for conducting a study of compulsive buying, the results cannot be generalized to other age groups.


Compared to previous studies, the paper uncovers emotions and emotional shifts in much greater detail, providing new insights to the phenomenon of compulsive buying, considering the range of emotions that consumers experience, and the triggers involved with their emotional shifts.



Saraneva, A. and Sääksjärvi, M. (2008), "Young compulsive buyers and the emotional roller‐coaster in shopping", Young Consumers, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 75-89.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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