Survey Reveals Closeted Shoppers

Australian buyers confess guilt about splurges in today's economy.

by staff writer
- Jun 11, 2009

Aussies feel guilty about shopping during tough economic times and downplay their expenses, a recent eBay poll shows.

The survey, which polled 1,250 people ages 18 to 65, revealed that while eight out of 10 people continue to buy luxury or non-essential items despite hard times, more than half of them don't tell their loved ones how much they actually spent on goods. In fact, some knock off up to 50 percent of an item's actual cost if they tell others about their purchases. And 25 percent reduced costs by a quarter.

"Some people feel they really should be cutting back, even when they do have the money, to avoid looking too extravagant," notes Stirling Griff, an independent retail analyst.

People were most likely to hide clothing, but electronics, accessories and books were other popular guilty purchases.

"Catering to every need, whether it's everyday necessities or special occasion treats, online shopping sites such as eBay are finding that it's not just about the dollar sign, but also about the range of items available," says Sian Gipslis, an eBay spokeswoman.

Though shoppers say they didn't lie, they admit they were vague about purchases

And although eBay's revenue declined during its 2009 first quarter, the site still generated more than $2 billion in revenue.

Many of the survey respondents said they didn't tell their families about their spending because others "would not understand," Reuters reports. Although they said they didn't lie straight out, they were vague about when they bought items.

Reflecting the current mood of consumers during tough economic times, the survey showed that one in six people thought it didn't seem right to spend money during a financial crisis as people continue to lose jobs, try to save money or reduce debt, Gipslis says.

And men are more likely to be closeted online shoppers, the survey found.

"It's human nature and rife amongst men and women," Griff notes. "We love to get a bargain, and will try to convince ourselves this is the case, even when it isn't."

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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