Happy Hedonists

Women who engage in shopping as retail therapy have often been stereotyped as an unhappy, compulsive lot who use their purchases to fill emotional voids.

New research suggests that while that’s sometimes the case for men and women, some power shoppers actually do derive pure joy from their retail forays. These women researchers called “happy hedonists” tend to be women who engage in buying expeditions for what researchers described as “material mirth” –or the thrill of the hunt– rather than in obtaining possessions as a form of social competition.

Interestingly, researchers found single female shoppers tended to feel lonelier and isolated after shopping their married shopping peers. And it was men who were more likely to view purchases as “material medicine,” while women tended to have more joyful impulses when spending up a storm.

The study, which was recently published online in the Journal of Consumer Research, involved more than 2500 shoppers studied over a period of six years.