Get help today 888-341-7785 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Emotional Spenders

Emotional Expense: Half of Americans say they experience ‘emotional spending,’ reveals survey.
One-third spending more on more expensive liquor.
1 in 5 shop online specifically to cheer themselves up.
Infographic showing emotional spending stats across the U.S.

The switch from doing most things in real life to practically living online full-time, has been a good distraction for many – like ordering takeouts via apps to save us from cooking every day. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Online shopping has soared, and with so little to do, it’s no wonder; what’s not to love about treating yourself to something you may not certainly don’t need, but you absolutely want for that little endorphin rush?

Well, it all depends on whether you’re doing what’s known as ‘emotional spending’ – where you buy something you might not necessarily need in order to ease your emotions., a provider of rehabilitation and addiction treatment resources, conducted a poll of 3,040 respondents, and found that more than half of Americans (51%) admit to emotional spending during the pandemic.

Do we really need a second coffee machine or a third waffle maker? Probably not, but does it make us feel good to see that package coming to the front door and unwrapping it like it’s Christmas? Yes! Broken down by gender, women are more prone to emotional spending (60%) than men (47%), but it’s somewhat of a level playing field.

Percentage of emotional spenders in different states

Nationally, 30% of respondents say they have treated themselves to more expensive, higher-quality alcohol during lockdown to try and cheer themselves up. The survey also revealed that almost 15% of Americans admit to shopping while drunk during lockdown and nearly a third (32%) said they tend to do these online shopping sprees when they feel low.

The survey also revealed that about half (45%) of Americans have spent more money shopping online as a direct result of the emotional stress of the pandemic, whether that’s been caused by feelings of isolation from loved ones, personal loss, or general uncertainty about the future. A treat is just the thing to make one feel better even if it’s only temporarily, which explains why more than 1 in 5 say they’ve done some online shopping while feeling stressed, specifically to cheer themselves up.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.