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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower