How Social Media Encourages Us to Overspend

January 16, 2019
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Facebook, Instagram and Twitter continue to top the list of most popular social media channels in America. These feeds are updated in real-time with the curated highlights of people’s seemingly ‘perfect’ lives. Our holiday feeds are filled with staged photos, super fun once-a-year activities, fancy cocktails, picture perfect gifts and more. In fact, social media users are 40% more likely to buy items they see online, and this behavior gets worse around the holidays. Young people are the most susceptible to buying items seen online, while millennials are the most likely to make spontaneous online purchases. Of the millennials who impulsively shop online, 86% said that looking back, they made a mistake. Sounds like Millennial FOMO (fear of missing out) at its finest.

Instagram recently introduced shopping functions – making it way too easy to buy online. For many of us, online payments don’t feel ‘real’, because we don’t see the cash leaving our wallet. While social channels like Instagram shopping are brilliant for retailers and marketers, they’re designed to get us to part with our hard-earned money. This is both terrifying and comforting – it’s not simply a lack of willpower causing us to overspend!

Scary Social Statistics

“90% of millennial respondents say social media creates a tendency to compare their own wealth or lifestyle to that of their peers” (source)

“60% of millennials report feeling “inadequate” about their own life because of something they saw on social media, like flashy clothing or vacations. And, as a result, 57% say they parted with money they hadn’t planned to spend” (source)

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By Kirsten Campbell