A recent poll found that one in ten Britons regret a pandemic purchase. Items that people no longer want range from kitchen appliances to hot tubs and, sadly, even dogs.
The pandemic created feelings of anxiety as people felt uncertain about what was happening. Anxiety usually promotes materialistic values which make people more likely to make purchases. Materialists buy goods based on their perceived status, so it is not surprising that many people invested in expensive items during the pandemic, as they were spending less money on items such as traveling and eating out.
As we return to “normal” life, anxiety levels are decreasing and people are no longer finding things they have purchased desirable or useful. Our life priorities are changing, and so are our material needs. Buyers judge a purchase based on the ability of the item to meet their needs. When items are no longer desirable and they want to buy something new (that they may not be able to afford), “buyer’s remorse” kicks in for more expensive items previously purchased.
During the pandemic, many people turned to online shopping as per their choice or requirement. It can also lead to high levels of remorse as consumers are not able to physically interact with the items they have purchased. When the package arrives at the door, it may not be exactly what they wanted or expected, leaving people feeling disappointed.
Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse
We can’t change the past, but we can at least strive to make better consumer decisions in the future. There are a few things you can do to reduce the chance that you never made a particular purchase:
1. Experience on Things
While buying new clothes or toys can be satisfying in the short term, paying for an experience — like going on vacation or going bowling — is less likely to lead to buyer remorse. This is because an item may be compared to other items you own that may be cheaper or substandard in some way. An experience or activity is unique to you and hard to compare.
2. When in Doubt, Don’t Buy
If you’re on the fence about buying something, it’s better to resist. Studies show that people are less likely to regret if they fail to buy something than if they did buy it.
3. Enrich Your Life
Spend your money on things that are related to personal development. When shopping is related to aspects such as community, health care, arts, entertainment and education, people feel more satisfied with what they buy.
4. Stay Away from Sales
Impulse buying often leads to regret. It can be hard to stop yourself when you’re at leisure, but there are some precautions you can take. Stay away from sales and online promotional events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Before you go shopping, determine how much you can afford and what you want to spend it on – make a list and stick to it.
5. Think of others first
Instead of focusing on yourself and your wants, think about buying things for others. Gift giving can be satisfying for both the giver and the recipient.
With Christmas approaching, people are likely to spend more than they want on gifts and food. This is a good time to reflect on what you can do to avoid the possibility of buyer’s remorse. The above tips will help you avoid buying unnecessary items and make the holiday shopping season more rewarding.