Impulsive Online Shopping: One Tap Away


Impulsive Online Shopping: One Tap Away


Verified By: Shaundtrya Ganasan, Licensed Counselor (KB11097)

The heavenly side of social media– online shops. It is currently the most convenient choice for purchasing anything that you desire. You can browse the pictures, details, and reviews. With the emergence of Instagram and TikTok, you can already access showcases by influencers that discuss the product in more depth. The topic of certain products can be viral and engrossed by different audiences.

Let’s say you are not a fan of cosmetics, you might be engrossed in seeking home products. Fashion might not be your thing, but you are more interested in cooking utensils invented by certain electronic brands. Hence, many things are already available online that can be delivered to you one tap away. Technically, almost every online users have their preferences when it comes to shopping online.

Reminder: If you or your loved ones are struggling with mental health conditions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but strength!

Interactive Online Shop’s Interface

Online shopping has become an alternative to purchasing something you want. While scrolling through the products’ details, you can add them to your cart while sorting through your decision and other available options. You also don’t need to queue physically, walk around, and drive for some miles. Everything has become easier and the experience is seamless. 

Everything seems heavenly if we see it from the positive side. As your urge to shop increases, the impact can take a huge toll on you. Buying power is already in your hands, but controlling it can be a hit or miss for you. Sellers begin to launch certain campaigns, by offering discounts. You may find it irresistible despite the product is not your priority currently.

But, the discounts offer a much lower price than usual. And it was purchased by people you knew or influencers that provide good reviews about it. Since the product is a hot topic currently, you don’t want to miss the opportunity.

In other cases, you might stumble upon a shop that sells a wireless vacuum. Interestingly, it promotes quality of life changes. You found that it is a good offer, though you already have another vacuum at home that doesn’t have such features. You get more influenced in buying it to upgrade the vacuum, even though it is not entirely necessary.

This specific turn of events can slowly influence your shopping habits. What’s worse is online shops are available in your hands 24/7. You might regret the things that you bought, but the impulsive cycle cannot end easily. The sweet offering popping out in your smartphone can trap you in the turmoil of impulsive buying.

Understanding Impulsive Shopping

Impulsive shopping can occur either at physical stores or online platforms. The term impulsive shopping coins to the unplanned spending that repeatedly occurs within an individual because of several psychological drives. Eventually, you feel disinterested once the product gets in your hands as you notice that this item may not be needed in your household.

If you are curious whether you have experienced impulsive buying, the signs are as follows:

  • Seeking instant gratification or lifting mood.
  • Spending more than intended.
  • Struggle to pay off bills.
  • Feel remorse for your spending.
  • Returning the item after purchase.

Identifying the triggers

Several factors can explain the occurrences of this condition. By finding out the underlying reasons, you may be able to reflect on your behaviour and psychological aspects that impact your spending habits. However, you need to remember that it is not entirely your fault that you can’t resist purchasing your desired items. 

Emotional reactions

Going through daily life can be challenging as you emit different emotions. Overwhelmed emotions that are not expressed correctly can cloud your rational thinking. For instance, stress may wear you out and you seek some relief to channel your stress. It can potentially influence your buying needs since shopping can deal with your stress. Before you know it, you have already checked out the item from the cart waiting for it to be delivered. Thus, online shopping can elevate your impulsive decision.

Instant gratification

While you are struggling with stress, shopping seems the way out. As concerning as it sounds, shopping does trigger dopamine which will bring joy to you and fill in the void within you. However, the enjoyment does not last. The dopamine release just appears for some moment, and it refluxs in a blink. After some time, the items might be left untouched or unused since you no longer feel the joy from them.

Influential advertisement

Many online stores nowadays offer discounts for several occasions such as year-end-sale, festive seasons, and so on. Not only sellers, online platforms occasionally collaborate with the stores in conjunction with 11.11, pay-day sale, or the platform’s anniversary. The offers include discounts, free shipping vouchers, and cashback. A bunch of notifications keep appearing on your screen that invite you to purchase, even the simplest offer. Who can even resist them? These marketing strategies can influence you further in shopping without thinking too much.

Cognitive biases

This happens when your brain tries to seek information that will convince you of something you believe is right. Impulsive buying will occur if you convince yourself by researching positive reviews that you prefer. Eventually, it will make you feel validated in buying the items after discovering other justifications for the purchase.

Reminder: If you or your loved ones are struggling with mental health conditions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at Soul Mechanics KD or Soul Mechanics Ipoh. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but strength!

Breaking the impulsive shopping cycle

Although impulsive buying affcets your lifestyle, it is still preventable. The importance lies within your budget control, and how you plan your money flow. It is a lesson in planning to secure your bank account for healthier spending.

Set the budget

Tracking your financial status is crucial in being mindful of your spending. This way, you will be more attentive to your money flow. Impulsive shoppers usually do not pay attention to their financial status.

Jot down the sources of your money (salary, allowance, parent’s sponsor, and so on)

Identify where you spend on (food, transportation, skincare). These records will be a reminder for you to show how much you have spent weekly, and monthly.

Put reminders on your bills along with their dues to avoid overdue and you will be able to prioritize the total budget to pay for them.

For easier navigation, you can also install a money tracker app on your phone for smoother progress.

Invent a savings strategy

Saving money is the next plan in securing your financial stability. There are many strategies available, and one of them is the SMART savings goal.

Specific: What are you saving for? (studies, weddings, etc)

Measurable: How much does it cost?

Attainable: Is it realistic and doable?

Relevant: Why is it worth your effort?

Timebound: When will you meet the goal?

The purpose of your savings might cost you some time to reach the goal. However, this is the delayed gratification that will hinder you from spending on unimportant items and focusing on long-term goals.

Create a shopping list

To shop wisely, list down the needed items so that you can limit your spending on the listed items only. As for the online shopping cart, you can remove the items that you do not need immediately after thinking through them. Leave only necessary products in the cart.

Think thoroughly

If you have just started planning your budget, you might still take small steps to control your spending. So, if you happen to contemplate buying something, you can ask yourself several questions.

Are the items in my cart a need or a want?

What do I feel right now when I add this to my cart? Am I being influenced by the discounts or trends?

How much should I work on to gain the money again?

Deep self-reflection is crucial to have more mindful spending.

Seeking Therapy

Fixing spending habits can be too challenging. Impulsive online shopping can mitigate your mental health. You might feel insecure, overwhelmed or helpless at times. Hence, seeking professional help is recommended. Therapists will assist you in building your resilience to shield yourself from impulsiveness.


In short, impulsive online shopping can happen to almost every online user. By acknowledging and understanding the signs, you can discover the hidden symptoms you might have overlooked. It is never too late to create a better strategy for your healthy spending.

If you’re looking for a therapist in Kota Damansara or Ipoh area, you can click here for more information.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not broaden the horizon of knowledge by learning about "Burnout: Recognizing the Tell-tale Signs of Burnout"? You can read the blog here.

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