Shoppers 'plagued by guilt' after splashing out
As dirty habits go, it is perhaps not the most unsavoury.
But according to a new study, shoppers are resorting to secrecy and lies to hide their splurges and are plagued by guilt each time they indulge.
And their pangs of remorse could be costing retailers dear - 17% of consumers have returned goods as a result, leading to an estimated £32 million in lost sales.
The study, conducted by comparison website uSwitch.com, found more than one third of shoppers (35%) feel bad after splashing out - meaning 17 million people could suffer from "post-purchase blues".
And for six in 10 people surveyed (59%), a trip to the high street no longer offers pleasurable retail therapy.
Meanwhile a third said shopping had become something of a "stealth mission" and admitted hiding purchases from their partner, family or friends.
Some 35% said they had lied about the cost of items.
The findings also pointed towards a reversal of the so-called "Primark Effect" and the trend for cheap "throwaway" fashion.
According to the study, half of consumers (50%) have stopped high street shopping since the start of the recession, unless they are buying replacement goods.
And more than one in 10 (11%) now prefer to buy one expensive item which will last rather than lots of cheaper "disposable" alternatives.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said financial constraints and a return to frugality meant consumers were "no longer in thrall to the high street".
"The recession has left a legacy of guilty shoppers in its wake and as a result the British love affair with retail therapy is beginning to pale," she said.
"For many, seeking escape through retail therapy isn't quite the remedy they expect.
"Instead of being a pick-me-up, a trip to the high street now only seems to bring them face to face with their financial worries, adding to their woes."
Of those who reported post-shopping guilt, 48% said they felt they should be saving, 32% felt they should be keeping cash back for "bigger priorities" including bills and mortgages and 27% simply felt guilty for spending unnecessarily.
Many shamefaced shoppers also attributed their most recent purchase to a "one-off moment of weakness", with 38% vowing never to splash out in the same way again.
uSwitch.com consulted 1,127 adults for the study earlier this month.
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...