Consumerism has seemingly seeped into every facet of the global society at large, with people from all over the world accumulating more and more stuff. Since many companies now outsource sourcing and manufacturing overseas where labor and materials are cheaper, the cost of owning more clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, hats, cosmetics, and other knick-knacks became more affordable.
The popularity of social media, too, is contributing to the problem of buying more. Younger generations, especially, are susceptible to the pull of social media.
Owning more stuff than you can use is not ideal because it leads to clutter. Aside from being an aesthetic issue, clutter can also have a negative impact on productivity, mood, stress levels, and overall health. Having mess can even feel isolating, as previous studies found, because it discourages people from inviting over and hanging out with friends in their messy homes.
People add storage solutions to maintain and gain control of their possessions and prevent it from creating a mess. Many American households buy sheds for sale to store items that they do not use regularly but still want to keep. However, sometimes, that still is not enough.
Browsing Social Media Leads to Overspending
People who use social media are constantly bombarded with ads. Spend a few minutes scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feed. Immediately, you will see a promoted or sponsored post showing products and brands that were specifically chosen based on your interests.
Seeing ads on social media is not surprising. After all, this is how these companies earn money. Access to the site is free. The user pays through viewing and, sometimes, clicking ads. It is not surprising, therefore, that Facebook and Instagram are crammed with ads. And because both sites capture troves of user data, they know precisely the kind of ads that will capture your attention.
People who use social media also encounter posts from their peers that promote or show off a new purchase. Seeing these posts creates feelings of insecurity.
All these factors lead to overspending. A survey from 2019 found that almost half of all Millennials admitted that social media had encouraged them to spend more, particularly on experiences. These experiences include dining out and vacations. However, about 48 percent of all those surveyed said that they spend more than they can afford.
Another survey from 2018 revealed that 57 percent of all millennials had made an unplanned purchase because of something they saw on social media.
Experts explained that people show how they spend money on social media, not how they save it. Purchases are more likely to be photographed and posted on Facebook or Instagram rather than bank accounts.
Purchases Driven By Emotions
They discovered that those who spend more time on Facebook and have a stronger network on social media sites tend to have lower credit scores and a higher credit card debt. The researchers also found that they have a lower persistence to do any tasks after spending time using social media.
Previous reports revealed that social media makes people feel more connected, have higher self-esteem, and overall happier. This contributes to worse financial decisions because it can lower self-control. When people are in a good mood, they lower their guard down.
They pointed to an experiment where participants were asked to scroll through Facebook and bid on an iPad from an eBay-type auction site. Those who used Facebook placed a higher bid, up to 30 percent more than they would pay for if they walked into an Apple store and bought the same product.
Fear of Missing Out
Many consumers who use social media are more likely to experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). Seeing their peers enjoying a product or experience makes them want to have it, too. FOMO caused by browsing social media is influencing buying decisions. People feel ostracized when they see their friends having fun on social media without them.
Advertisers are already using the anxiety, regret, and negative feelings it causes to push people to make unplanned purchases. Although marketers have utilized FOMO for a long time, social media has expanded it to levels never seen before. Consumers are exposed to ads that induce FOMO more frequently now because of social media and the internet.
The adverse effects of excessive social media use have already been well-documented. Overspending and owning too much stuff are only two more reasons people should be more careful of how they use social media.