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Shopping Addiction Statistics

Compulsive buying is normalized in US culture but can lead to overspending and emotional distress. Identifying risk groups can prevent negative consequences. With psychotherapy and support, addicts can break free. Learn more about who it effects, and what the scientific data shows.

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Statistics on Shopping Addiction

Compulsive buying behaviors are often overlooked due to how normalized shopping sprees are in American culture. Untreated shopping addiction can lead to the overspending of vital funds and cause intense emotional and psychological distress.

Identifying the groups most at risk for shopping addiction and compulsive spending problems can help individuals avoid life-changing negative consequences.

With the right psychotherapy and support from loved ones, addicts can be free of compulsive spending and improve their overall well-being.

Is Shopping Addiction a Common Problem?

Research on shopping addiction is nowhere near as robust as studies on substance abuse. However, more attention is being dedicated to behavioral addictions like shopping addiction.

As research improves, allowing mental health professionals to better diagnose and treat compulsive shopping.

According to research from the University of Iowa, approximately 5-8% of the worldwide population suffers from compulsive buying disorder, which can lead to a shopping addiction. The disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 5.8% in the US general population.

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Shopping Addiction Statistics by Age

Research indicates that the average compulsive buyer begins to develop shopping addiction or oniomania symptoms in their late teens or early 20s. The mean age of onset is 30 years old.

A survey conducted at several American universities found that up to 12% of college students may have shopping addiction symptoms.

College-age students are often more at risk due to their newfound freedom to engage in in-person and online shopping without their parent’s supervision.

Shopping Addiction Statistics by Gender

Initial research showed that shopping addiction affects women far more than men. Research from the University of Iowa reported around 80% of shopping addicts are women.

However, another study from Stanford claims the disparity between shopaholic men and women isn’t so wide.

Researchers from Stanford found that 6% of women and 5.5% of men had symptoms consistent with compulsive buying disorder, which is strongly associated with shopping addiction. The gender-adjusted prevalence rate was 5.8%.

The perceived higher rates of female shopping addiction could be attributed to how advertisements tend to focus more on women.

In addition, terms like “retail therapy” related to women and the media portrayal of shopaholic, materialistic women don’t help the stigma of women with shopping addiction.

Shopping Addiction Statistics by Comorbidity

There are high rates of comorbidities with shopping addiction. In fact, research from the University of Iowa reported that 84% of young adults who suffer from shopping addiction report a family history of mental health disorders, such as mood or anxiety disorders.

Respondents in the study with shopping addiction were found to have the following comorbidities:

  • Mood disorders (21%-100%)
  • Anxiety disorders (41-80%)
  • Substance use disorders (21-46%)
  • Eating disorders (8-35%)
  • Co-occurring disorders that feature issues with impulse control (e.g., Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) are also relatively common in these individuals (21-40%)
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Shopping Addiction Recovery Statistics

While statistics on shopping addiction recovery are in short supply, some studies indicate that women are more likely to seek treatment than men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), women were more likely than men to have received any treatment for their mental health.

Hopefully, as awareness of shopping addiction improves, more studies will focus on rates of recovery for compulsive shoppers. The hope is that more men will also choose to seek treatment so the devastating financial and mental effects of shopping addiction can be avoided.

Getting Treatment for Shopping Addiction

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one has a shopping disorder or displays compulsive shopping behavior, it’s not too late to seek treatment. Waiting until it gets “bad enough” could worsen the situation, so talk to your doctor or therapist about treatment options today.

You can also try support groups like Shopping Addiction Support Group, Debtors Anonymous, and Shopaholics Anonymous.

Still trying to figure out where to start?

Try SAMHSA’s online treatment locator or call 1-877-726-4727 (HELP) to find treatment centers in your area.

FAQs About Shopping Addiction Statistics

What percentage of people are addicted to shopping?

Data from the University of Iowa indicates that approximately 5-8% of the worldwide population suffers from compulsive buying disorder. Around 5.8% of the US general population currently suffers from a compulsive buying disorder or shopping addiction.

How does the Internet contribute to shopping addiction?

Many shopping addicts have online shopping addiction. While the rates of this subsection of shopping addiction haven’t been studied, the prevalence of daily internet use is impossible to ignore. It’s easier now than ever to shop online, which only makes it easier for addicts to impulse spend in private.

Who is most affected by shopping addiction?

Some studies indicate that women are most affected by shopping addiction. However, other studies disagree with this assessment. Research from Stanford indicates that 6% of women and 5.5% of men had symptoms consistent with compulsive buying disorder.

While the question of addiction rates and gender is still in question, the fact remains that anyone with certain risk factors can develop impulse buying issues, regardless of gender.

Common risk factors for shopping addiction include:

  • History of addiction in your family
  • Issues with impulse control
  • Past substance abuse
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), hoarding disorders, and impulse control disorders

What is the difference between compulsive buying and shopping addiction?

Compulsive buying disorder is a diagnosis described in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition) as excessive shopping problems and buying behaviors that lead to distress or impairment.

Shopping addiction, on the other hand, is the result of dependence on the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, like dopamine. Shopping addiction isn’t officially listed in the DSM-5 but is considered under the umbrella of behavioral addictions.

Is shopping addiction a real problem?

Yes. Many addicts use spending sprees as a coping strategy to deal with negative emotions and daily stress. Shopping addiction can lead to serious financial problems, emotional distress, low self-esteem, and large amounts of credit card debt.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of AddictionHelp.com and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

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