Shoppers Experience “Luxury Shame”


What: What’s the real reason why so many shoppers are refusing to shell out thousands of luxury handbags or expensive jewelry these days? It turns out it has nothing to do with the recession or even money for that matter. Instead, retail experts say an increasing number of people are suffering from “shoppers’ guilt“—the same feeling someone gets when they buy an expensive item and feel remorse over the hefty price. As a way to fight back, some clothing brands are giving shoppers a “reason” to splurge, like donating a percentage of the price of goods to charity or offering “experiences” rather than just the products themselves.

What the WSJ Says:
“Guilt is running so high these days that many people are simply not going into stores in order to avoid the temptation to buy, retail executives say. Shoppers are steering clear of the usual shopping zones, says Andrea Ciccoli, the administrator for Italian fashion group Ittierre SpA.”

What We Say: Dare we say it, but maybe “shoppers’ guilt” is a bit of a good thing? After all, anything that forces us to re-evaluate the money we spend on clothing and accessories can’t be that bad, right? Either way, it’s interesting to hear some of the tactics stores are implementing in order to influence us to shop — like using pop up stores or offering to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

Have you experienced any “shoppers’ guilt” since the recession began?

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  1. Serena says

    I don’t normally buy luxury goods.  The only feelings of guilt that I do feel is when I buy something on impulse without thinking it through.

  2. Lindsey ( says

    Yes!! I bought a $250 Michael Kors purse last year. It’s not that I didn’t deserve it – I had never owned a nice purse before that. I made sure to pick out that was classic and would last a long time and the minute I bought it, I felt so guilty that I should have spent that money on something else – food, rent, whatever! To this day, I still LOVE my purse and it was a great investment!

  3. a.i. says

    i bought a used luxury car this summer for a third of its MSRP thinking it was a solid investment.  it’s hard to validate my reasons for buying the car to my friends when they were recently laid off.  but i do love my car and don’t regret buying it.

  4. Closet Fashionista says

    I purchase low end and high end.  If I want it I buy it.  The philosphy goes, If you buy something on sale and like it, would you still like it if it wasn’t on sale.  My answer is yes!  It’s ok to splurge every once in a while.  Since handbags are my fetish, it does matter how much it cost.

  5. sassyT says

    “Shoppers Guilt” is NOT in my vocabulary!!  I enjoy shopping WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much to have any “guilt” about it or any of the items (high end or low end) I purchase!!!!

  6. Sindy says

    I love to shop, bu I hate be irresponsible, wasting money, etc.  I can feel shopper’s guilt on a $1 purchase.  Inorder to avoid shopper guilt, I make sure the purchase is a good value.  Do I need it, how many time will I were it, now does it make me feel, can I find it at a beter price or can I find a less expensive version that will do the same thing.

  7. jason yc hsu says

    is the guilt to the environment (recession, green issue, etc.) or the guilt is because buying something beyond the budget?
    is it the phenominon in economy recession? or actually it is an common mindset?

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