The convenience and accessibility of the iPhone has engendered a quick-fix society that relies of iPhone technologies like Tinder to find easy, local hook-ups, get food and other time-consuming errands hand delivered on the fly through apps like Favor, and through an endless array of shopping apps, open a world of purchasing possibilities by the mere click of a Buy it Now button. I can’t help but notice that covert spending habits are running amuck by means of these new advances in mobile technologies. The result is a rise in compulsive shopping habits, otherwise termed as onionmania.
Department and retail stores are experiencing withering profits because unless they’ve produced innovative extensions into the digital media realm, iphone apps and other mobile experiences are dominating the commercial landscape.
Hiroko Tabushi writes on the decaying retail establishments in this piece for the NY Times stating, “Of course, Americans have not stopped spending on goods — far from it. But when they do, they are increasingly buying online.”
E-commerce and social networks are largely to blame for the precipitating increase in on demand iPhone shopping expendituress
Laziness is, too, pivotal to the wild burgeoning E-commerce success. Without having to leave your house to go to Best Buy, Sunday at Walmart, or battle the mall frenzy during holiday season, almost anything and everything can be ordered not only from computers but with a few taps on the the iPhone. Whether it’s by means of instant gratification or be it through the surreptitious boobie-traps created by online advertisements it’s easy to drowned in the overwhelming vortex of sensorial merchandise propaganda.
The Addictive Nature
Compulsive shopping addiction isn’t just some apocalyptic condition I’ve contrived in the back of my skeptical mind, it actually is a colossal endemic, as I’m confident that every web user has faced the urge and capacity to spontaneously combust into an insatiable spending machine, making rash spending decisions vis-a-vis iPhone capabilities. Compulsive spending is, in fact, classified as a mental disorder—more formerly termed Compulsive Buying Disorder, endured by 6% of women and 5.5% of men.
There are a number of similarities compulsive shopping has to other more prevalently identified addictions like gambling, alcoholism, or other substance abuse problems. There’s the thrill which accompanies the chasing of the high. Getting your hands on a sold out designer bag or finding The Deal of All Deals induces a state of ecstasy for anyone that’s ever engrossed themselves in the consignment shopping game (this is how I felt when I finally got my hands on a number of hard to find Lilly Pulitzer for Target pieces, only to later look at my withering bank account with less euphoria and much more shame)
Bottomless droves of companies seek to cash in on the vulnerable dispositon of an always online society through targeted advertisements and social media networks. Instagram and Pinterest have just recently integrated Buy Buttons into their platforms as they recognize the inherent capacities residing in the sites’ visual smorgasbord. Adding actionable purchase options to the social networking sites turns the act of window shopping into a platform for credit card demolition. Pinners beware!
The Dawning of the Age of Mobility
The social movement towards mobile dependency is a major culprit in our overspending ways.
These days when we feel an inkling of potential boredom creeping in—to our iPhones we turn. It’s practically a gut instinct to evade the present— that moment of stillness, of feeling awkwardly alone—an experience quite like the one Louis CK alludes to in the video below.
“Oh no…here it comes—that I am alone….like it starts to visit on you..just the sadness…“
To avoid the cathartic release of emotions culminating in the present moment we hide behind our techno bodyguards, always handy, always
Why recede from the raw present moment? Because without the bombardment of technological interruptions we are forced into a deep introspection, and forced we are therefore to confront the demons of the mind: a recent breakup, anxiety about the future, fears. To charter through the digital wonderland encompassed within the iphone terrain is to virtually fend off the potential cavalcade of burdensome emotions, but they latently remain behind the veil of technologically engrossed paralysis.
“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something,…that’s being a person..”
The pursuit of More…and more and more
In a piece for Quartz Mark Bain wrote that “Consumers run the risk of ending up on a hedonic treadmill in which the continuous pursuit of new stuff leaves them unhappy and unfulfilled.”
A study in January of 2015 found that Americans spend over three hours per month shopping on portable devices. Shopping, however, does not equate with purchasing, similar to the way that social network browsing does not necessarily equate with social interactions (aka lurking) To get the impetus to actually comment or interact is similar to what propels people to actually “Buy now” We often fill up our online shopping carts with desired products and abandon ship once the financial ramifications are taken into consideration. It’s not merely a “Buy Now” world. But due to the intangible nature of online shopping it’s easy to get caught in the fantastical browsing habits that a trip to the mall, for instance, does not typically induce.
Having an online storefront gives businesses an opportunity to further decrease prices via the cost of practically non existing overhead. The laxity granted through this, enables businesses with the ability to constantly fluctuate product prices, putting the consumer in an unstable state where they may either chase down the lowest price(a highly addictive. and time-consuming tendency) or wave their flag in surrender and pay the higher price without embarking on the wild goose chase for the golden bargain special.
What’s more is that a showcase of all the world’s products, even things handmade that were once reserved to local craft markets or hand-me-down items that were either discarded or donated, now have global consumer audiences through sites like etsy.com or ebay. The merchandising menagerie is now so easily accessibe online serves as a major bugaboo for the budget conscience, especially those most prone to spontaneous bouts of shopping
The gluttony of such expenditures, however, often amounts to overstuffed closets, filled with price tag marked clothing abound, and a culture of excess that often leads to overwhelm or hoarding.