Smartphone addiction creates a bad habit of compulsive shopping
The Future. Gen Z’s love of smartphones and e-commerce is turning some vulnerable customers into shopping addicts. Some experts argue that businesses themselves, armed with software, have a responsibility to curb the behavior. It would be legally difficult to uphold, but online shopping may one day be subject to gambling laws… if evidence can be found that platform algorithms are designed to make shopping more addictive.
Per Fast Company, compulsive buying is bad for shoppers and bad for companies.
- Gen Z phone addiction is real, with 31% reporting that they feel uncomfortable without their phones for more than 30 minutes.
- That addiction, combined with the ease of e-commerce, has led to a rise in shopping compulsion.
- That’s because smartphone addiction is linked to mood management and can put someone in a “flow state” (i.e., endless scroll).
- Those factors lead someone to buy things they don’t need simply because of how easy and private it is.
For a generation that is faced with several economic challenges (and knows it), compulsive buying only hurts them more… and perpetuates feelings of guilt… which sets the cycle going all over again.
While it may seem logical that businesses would love this shopping addiction, Nisreen Ameen, a senior lecturer in digital marketing at Royal Holloway University of London, says encouraging the practice could ultimately make them look bad to consumers as a whole.
Instead, Ameen believes that businesses have a responsibility to curb compulsive buying by creating algorithms that pinpoint addictive buyers, remove them from marketing materials, or even set spending limits for a certain time frame (that would surely run into some legal challenges).
The point is, by reining in addictive behavior among their youngest consumers, businesses could gain support from consumers that “increasingly value corporate social responsibility.”