The Psychology of Shopping in the United Arab Emirates
When it comes to shopping, one should analyze its peculiarities from the psychological perspective as it is related to such notions as “decision-making process”, “addiction” and “therapy”. Not without a reason, shopoholics are people who do not resist their desire to buy something. Mostly, they are depressive or feel the emotional devastation. Consequently, one uses shopping like therapy that gives a positive emotional effect. The UAE have the best malls in the world. However, the emergence of boutiques and shops only increases the desire to buy something new.
The UAE is a paradise for consumers with its mega malls, month-long shopping festivals, and 24-hour work on holidays. It means that managers in advertisement use all the possible ways to involve more and more customers. Psychology is a crucial aspect in their slogans and messages of products. The statistics of Zayed University shows that the female students have all symptoms of compulsive buying disorder (Swan, 2015). Psychologist Salva Al Menhali has conducted the research and revealed that 44% of women aged18-30 show the signs of shopoholism (Swan, 2015). When students have money, they feel the necessity to spend them.
The UAE malls use psychological pressure on their customers. In their advertisements, boutiques and malls use famous songs, bright colors, attractive labels, and suggestions of celebrities. Another psychological aspect of malls refers to the emotional appeal, familiarity, and memorability. Emotional appeal targets customers’ emotions with product names. Another psychological trick is related to the implementation of bonuses, reductions, and presents. Consequently, they are good hooks for the young people. Those who suffer from “shopping addiction” prefer buying clothes, shoes, and make-up to other items (Black, 2007). The psychologists insist that poorly studied and much underestimated female students suffer from shopping addiction in the UAE. Moreover, the UAE benefits from this disorder as it has more per capita shopping spaces than any other country; therefore, the conditions are more prevalent and favourable (Swan, 2015).
The UAE research shows that many people are addicted to buying make-up. Women in Dubai visit malls 28 times on weekends and 42 times during the week. In most cases, those are the ladies aged from 18 to 30. They are so psychologically addicted that they cannot go out without buying something. Consequently, they try to visit public places after 10 p.m. when all malls are closed and chose longer routes to their home to avoid stores. However, the main issue is that in the present time online shopping is becoming more and more popular in the UAE. As a result, addicted people can spend to Dh 2000 a month. Moreover, most people fail to buy only one item buying three or more at a time (Swan, 2015).
In the UAE, people have high incomes and access to credit cards; therefore, shopping is one of the most favourite interests. Moreover, a lot of media influence like television, Internet, and advertisement encourage people to go shopping. People who suffer from shopping addiction have loans and get into debt. The symptoms of the condition include the feeling of emotional distress, angriness or depression because of the inability to buy something. Moreover, such people are aggressive and have no other interests (Black, 2007).
The UAE psychologists state that living with shopping addiction is a daily struggle accompanied by the tension, avoidance strategies, and changes of mood. One can compare this psychological disorder with a drug addiction. Moreover, depression is the main symptom that proves that such people need help and support. While shopping, addicts feel happiness only when they buy items they will never wear (Lo & Harvey, 2011).
Compulsive shopping disorder turns from suffering to the obsessive brand disorder. The statistics shows that both male and female Dubai residents suffer from brand addiction. 8.2 million people spend on average $21.57 per annum. If it is a T-shirt, it should be D&G. If these are shoes, they should be from Bruno Magli’s finest. Even UAE children are involved in the Armani Junior fashion parade. The psychologists name this kind of addiction the brand addiction. Moreover, they state, “Addictive disorders are characterized by the failure to control behavior, an increased tension prior to a behavior and pleasure while experiencing behavior (Rai, 2011).” One should mention that addictive shopping disorder leads not only to psychological problems but also deep financial debts that can destroy family relationships.
In the UAE, big brand names are “the villains” and riving forces of the addictive shopping disorder. Companies understand that people in Dubai have higher incomes and use this as the opportunity to make profits by opening new malls, boutiques and stores. Consequently, Dubai residents are watching the giant bill boards and full page advertisements and spending their money. Moreover, marketing specialists promote simple trips to the Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates. It is an advertising trick that involves more people in shopping.
Heavy advertising is a psychological influencer that encourages people to opt for the particular brand. The companies involve prominent celebrities who are role models, national heroes, and examples for following. Young people are “the victims” of the advertisements with the celebrities. The UAE malls advertise their brands involving David Beckham, Gwen Stafani, and Angelina Jolie. The buying habits of the UAE customers depend on the mere public advertisements.
The statistics persuades that customers in Dubai have their finger on the pulse when it comes to shopping and fashion, especially women. They spend between Dh3.000 and Dh7.000 every month on accessories, clothes, shopping, spas, and salons.
The brand companies are good psychologists and can easily define customers’ demands and interests. One should mention that they associate their brands to the customers’ experience ensuring they are emotionally appealing. Moreover, a large number of malls with the latest brand items develop an inferiority complex that is typical for Dubai women. Consequently, women are the main victims of shopping madness as they want to be always admired. Psychologists state that many their clients are shopping addicted and have to visit them to cope with their psychological addiction.
In conclusion, one should say that the addictive shopping disorder has a psychological nature. First of all, it is related to the symptoms typical for any kind of addiction. One should say that the UAE malls open many shopping opportunities for customers from many parts of the world. The UAE market presents the most modern brands in thousands of malls, boutiques, and stores. The problem of shopping variety in the UAE is that it makes people shopping addicted thus making them crazy about brands and buying unnecessary things. The symptoms of shopping addiction include the feelings of emotional distress, angriness or depression because of the inability to buy something. It is evident that commercial companies use shopping addiction as a way of getting profits. Psychologists worry that such addiction can have more serious consequences. To reduce shopping addiction, psychologists recommend the course of mindfulness that addresses to human needs and wants and allows live a happy and rewarding life. Another step is to spend time with an addict and pay off, destroy or cancel all her credit cards. Positive encouragement is also a must for those who are shopping addicted.