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Cyber Monday Sales Drop For The First Time Ever In 2021

This Cyber Monday, consumers spent upwards of $10.7 billion collectively on deals from their favorite online retailers. However, according to data from Adobe Analytics, this total marks a 1.4% decrease when compared to the lowest amount spent during Cyber Monday on record. 

Adobe Analytics initially began tracking e-commerce in 2012, and analyzes more than 1 trillion visits to retailer websites. This year’s tally for Cyber Monday marks the first time that the company has recorded a slowdown in spending on a major shopping day during the holiday season. 

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Last Cyber Monday wasn’t much different either, with consumers spending about $10.8 billion online. Last year was more predictable, however, as we were still in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, and most people weren’t leaving their house or in a position to spend a lot of money for the holidays. 

Adobe is still expecting that throughout the rest of this year’s holiday season, online retailer’s will see a relative increase in e-commerce activity. More shoppers have been opting to spread out their orders when it comes to holiday shopping to make it easier to pay off certain gifts. 

Between November 1st and Cyber Monday consumers in the US alone have spent about $109.8 billion online, which is an 11.9% increase from last year’s numbers, and the previous year’s. The company is anticipating digital sales to reach $207 billion by the end of the year, which would represent a record hain of 10%. 

Adobe reported that the Cyber Monday sales stats aren’t exactly surprising either. As previously mentioned, more shoppers have been spreading out the days in which they spend their money, as opposed to waiting for “Cyber Week” (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday) to get all their shopping done. 

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Many larger online retailers have seen these patterns, and have even gone as far as to offer Black Friday deals all autumn and winter. Adobe reported that retailers made about $8.9 billion in online sales this Black Friday, and about $5.1 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving Day. 

According to data from Sensormatic Solutions, another retail tracker, shopper traffic on Black Friday was up 47.5% when compared to last year’s numbers, however, it was still down 28.3% when compared to 2019/pre-pandemic levels. 

“With early deals in October, consumers were not waiting around for discounts on big shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday,” said Taylor Schreiner, director at Adobe Digital Insights.

Adobe predicts that online retail trends will continue to fuel the market throughout the holiday season as deals on major retail websites like Amazon, Target, and Walmart continue to push “Black Friday Deals” throughout the entire holiday season.

Clothes Store

Gap Announces Second Collaboration With Kanye West

The Gap has released their second item from its collaboration with Kanye West’s Yeezy label. The new black puffer called a “go round jacket,” looks similar to the blue puffer jacket the two brands recently released together as well. 

Insiders with Gap are hoping that these collaborations will help reverse all that was lost during the past year of the pandemic. Gap specifically lost about $62 million in the third quarter of last year, and they’re still trying to recover. The retail giant also announced plans to close 81 of its physical stores. 

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Once the initial collaboration with Kanye West was announced, however, the share price for Gap surged by 40%, adding $700 million to the brand. Wells Fargo recently released a report that showed Gap could become a billion dollar company if they continue their collaborative efforts with the Yeezy brand. 

The good thing for Gap is that Kanye still has enough fans for hoodies to drive sales. Yeezy, a label known for its elevated hoodies, will reap the benefits of the pandemic-led boom in comfort wear such as velour tracksuits and sweatpants. Before the pandemic,” says author and associate editor of Rap Pages, Ronda Racha Penrice.

Jeff Carvalho is the executive editor of Highsnobiety, a popular streetwear website, who recently claimed that this collaboration could send both brands to the next level. 

“Kanye has always wanted a big mainstream platform to work on. Gap is about as mainstream as it gets in hitting the malls, and accessibility to the product has long been a mantra of his. Being mainstream is the new cool when it comes to lifestyle brands.”

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“When his footwear line first launched he stated that everyone who wanted to get a pair would eventually be able to do so and that statement became true, which is very interesting in a culture that’s fixated on limited releases,”said Arby Li, editor in chief of men’s fashion website Hypebeast.

Racha Penrice discussed how regardless of West’s controversial past, this collaboration will benefit Gap as much as it will Yeezy.

“There’s already a payoff for Gap from a PR perspective. Despite his pro-Trump allegiances and his controversial slavery comments, both of which alienated fans, I don’t believe Yeezy X Gap sales will be effected,” she explained.

“He’s still a star and now Gap is benefiting from that. We are talking about Gap here and it’s been mentioned quite a bit on social media, not to mention by influential publications, so this looks like a promising partnership.”

“I spoke to Yeezy and he’s very, very focused on this incredible opportunity. [It will] provide balance for us both. With Yeezy becoming slightly more approachable while also giving Gap an edge it has been missing for some time now,”  Sonia Syngal, Gap’s chief executive, told the Business of Fashion.

Facebook Is Entering Into The World Of Real Estate 

Facebook is currently planning to develop a community near its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The property is set to have a supermarket, restaurants, shops, and a 193-room hotel. 

The company town will be known as Willow Village, and will contain over 1,700 apartments on site, including 320 more affordable units and 120 that will be set aside specifically for senior citizens. 

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Willow Village is being developed on a 59-acre site which currently stands as an industrial and research complex. Facebook is collaborating with Signature Development Group to create the space; the group is a Bay Area real estate developer known for creating spaces that combine commercial and residential spaces. 

The design for Willow Village is projected to be very community oriented and pedestrian friendly. It will have numerous bike trails, sidewalk space, and numerous public park spaces; including a quarter-mile elevated park meant to emulate the High Line in Manhattan, NYC.

The development will also contain a 1.25-million-square-foot office building that will include a massive glass-dome area known as the “collaboration area.” 

Facebook initially filed paperwork to redevelop the 59-acre site back in 2017, but were met with major resistance from residents in nearby neighborhoods who were worried about the traffic and housing prices that would be impacted. 

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In order to accommodate, Facebook created a blueprint that made Willow Village have 30% less office space to make room for 200 more apartments. It also agreed to prioritize construction of grocery stores and other retail options that any citizen can use, not just employees. 

“We’re deeply committed to being a good neighbor in Menlo Park. We listened to a wide range of feedback and the updated plan directly responds to community input,” said John Tenanes, Facebook’s VP of real estate.

Willow Village will not just be for Facebook employees. The City of Menlo Park is still currently reviewing Facebook’s proposal that would allow for prime residential access to the spaces in Willow Village, but it’s expected that the proposal will be approved in the coming weeks. 

The goal is to have as many Facebook employees as possible living in the village to allow for optimal business. The public aspect will also help the social media giant further grow because they now will have direct access to the individuals who use the platform every day. 

Etsy Buys Clothing App Depop In $1 Billion Deal 

Popular online retail giant Etsy announced this week that they would be purchasing Depop, a British secondhand fashion resale app that works like eBay, but specifically for clothing; the app is mainly used by younger generations as a means of purchasing vintage clothing and custom made pieces. 

Josh Silverman, the chief executive of Etsy, which is based in Brooklyn, New York, said that he was already expecting the resale craze to peak as we enter this post-pandemic world. 

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“I expect this whole resale market to continue long after the pandemic, and I believe that Depop’s passionate community of fashion-conscious young people will be leading the way. The generation Z demographic is enormous, and is known as the trendsetter demographic.”

More than 90% of Depop’s 30 million users are under the age of 26, which makes them a part of generation Z, the smartphone conscious generation that utilizes technology to communicate, but also improve the world. 

Etsy revealed that Depop is the 10th most visited shopping site among generation Z consumers in the United States. Etsy itself was founded back in 2005 and has been attempting to expand its influence among younger generations. The average Etsy user is 39, as the app mainly focuses on crafts and handmade items as well as secondhand clothing. Etsy is known for helping small business owners create a larger customer base for themselves, as the site is so universally used around the world.  

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Simon Beckerman is the founder of Depop, and claims he originally made the app for fun back in 2011 while working at a fashion magazine. The app now has registered users in 150 countries and currently has 2 million active sellers; which sold about $650 million worth of secondhand clothing last year alone; Depop took a $70 million cut. 

“The idea for the app came from an early realization that there was going to be a new generation of people who were most acquainted with using mobile phones and there was no app designed for selling clothes.”

Beckerman, who was born in Milan, told Artefact magazine in 2015 that “the concept for the app was initially a shop for the magazine I worked for in Italy and we would sell everything featured in the magazine. When we started Depop, apps were [in their] very early stages and apart from the three or four main ones that everybody was starting to use heavily – such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – it wasn’t very clear how we were going to use them fully. We didn’t realise how integrated with our lives they would be.”

Etsy claimed that they would be allowing Depop to continue to operate as is; a standalone business run in London. In general, the secondhand clothing market is valued at about $40 billion, so this acquisition was likely one of the biggest business decisions Etsy could’ve done coming out of this pandemic.

Woman Shopping in Retail

Retail Sales Increased Exponentially In March 

Retail sales for the US in March increased exponentially likely due to the fact that a fresh batch of stimulus checks were recently sent out to citizens. This is great news for the retail sector of the economy, which has been struggling greatly throughout the past year. 

The US Commerce Department reported that advance retail sales rose by 9.8% in March; the Dow Jones estimated a gain of 6.1% and a decline of 2.7% back in February. “Sporting goods, clothing and food and beverage led the gains in spending and contributed to the best month for retail since the May 2020 gain of 18.3%, which came after the first round of stimulus checks,” according to CNBC. 

The Labor Department also reported that “first-time filings for unemployment insurance plunged, with 576,000 new jobless claims for the week ended April 10. That was easily the lowest total since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and represented a sharp decline from the previous week’s total of 769,000. The Dow Jones claims estimate was 710,000.”

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As jobless claims began to decrease and stimulus checks continued to be mailed out, the retail industry saw a massive rise in spending. Sales were boosted by 28% when compared to what the industry looked like at this point last year during the beginning of the pandemic. 

The bar and restaurant industry saw a 13.4% increase as well thanks to the rollout of multiple vaccines and the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions. Currently the US is vaccinating more than 3 million people every day. 

Sporting goods saw the highest rise in spending last month, likely due to the fact that summer is approaching and more Americans realize they’ll be vaccinated an able to participate in more outdoor activities this year. That sector saw a 23.5% increase followed by clothing and accessories which saw a 18.3% increase. 

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“Spending will almost certainly drop back in April as some of the stimulus boost wears off, but with the vaccination rollout proceeding at a rapid pace and households finances in strong shape, we expect overall consumption growth to continue rebounding rapidly in the second quarter too,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

The New York Federal Reserve released a report recently that indicated “stimulus recipients expect to save 41.6% of their checks and spend 24.7%. Following the first round of checks in the spring of 2020, consumers saved 34.5% and spent 29.2%. The consumer price index rose 2.6% in March from a year ago, thanks in part to a surge in gasoline prices. The year-over-year gain was the largest since August 2018.”

The past four weeks have shown a weekly average of 683,000 jobless claims, which is the lowest it’s been in quite some time. With this hopeful decrease in weekly claims, it’s likely that America’s economy overall will begin to see an increase in spending.

Silicon Valley Projected To See Rise In Commercial Real Estate Transactions This Year

Silicon Valley is currently projected to be a hot market for commercial real estate development and transactions as the coronavirus slump in business begins to dissipate with the release of multiple vaccines and new health and safety protocols implemented by the new administration in the White House. 

The San Jose metropolitan area, defined as Santa Clara County, is known as the nation’s number one market for the future development of commercial office spaces. It’s also being looked at as an amazing market for retail and apartment development as well. This shift is likely going to be partially caused by a greater desire to leave the suburbs after the pandemic and get back to the hustle and bustle of city life. 

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The East Bay and San Francisco-San Mateo metro regions are also being seen as prime spots for future office, retail, and apartment development, according to a report published by CBRE, a commercial real estate firm. Senior Manager at CBRE’s Silicon Valley office, Mark Schmidt, recently discussed this projected rise with the media. 

“Companies appreciate that a San Jose-area location is accessible to a wide swath of top-tier talent and affords room to grow.” 

The report ranked which of the 50 major markets in the US offered the best potential development opportunities post-Covid. The report considered all property types – office, retail, multifamily, and industrial – as well as all contributing factors to cost, such as land and construction. Santa Clara County was ranked at number 17 nationwide for development opportunities.

The San Francisco-San Mateoregion was ranked at number 22 and the East Bay ranked at number 23. Santa Clara County is ranked as the best region for office development opportunities, according to CBRE’s data and report; the group ranked the area as number 1 out of 50 metro areas in the US. 

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The South Bay also trumped other major office markets such as New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Austin. The East Bay was ranked at number 16 for industrial development opportunities, number 20 for office, number 21 for retail, and number 26 for multifamily opportunities. 

“The East Bay has benefited as the more affordable neighbor of San Francisco, with industry advantages in information technology, professional business services, and a sizable construction labor force.”

CBRE is projecting that “the San Jose metro area will have the fastest growing economy post-recession, driven by an unparalleled high-tech ecosystem that takes advantage of research universities, abundant capital, and a strong start-up and entrepreneurial culture. New commercial properties will require enhanced amenities. Developers are prioritizing new features that promote health and safety, tenant flexibility and ease of access in response to COVID-related concerns.”

Nationwide the hopeful end of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to shift the way a lot of industries develop and expand in the future. Time will tell how accurate these projections actually are, but based on past economic data, the US’s real estate industry should do just fine this year.

These Retailers Are Celebrating Black Friday Early This Year

With the Covid-19 pandemic throwing a major wrench in the way we all shop, many major retailers throughout the country are deciding to start their Black Friday deals online and early to give consumers ample time to take advantage of the year’s biggest day of sales. And since it’s still early in the holiday season, getting all of your shopping done now will make for less stress later. 

Abbio: The week of October 23rd to October 30th Abbio kitchen is offering its customers 25% of the entire site as a part of the brand’s pre-Thanksgiving VIP sale. Just use the code ABBIOHOLIDAY25 at checkout to receive your deal. Additionally, if you miss this round of sales, from November 26th to November 30th Abbio will be offering 25% off the entire site again for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, simply use code ABBIOBF25 at checkout. 

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Best Buy: Best Buy has already started their holiday season with their daily Deal of the Day. This type of promotion is typical for major retailers like Best Buy during the holiday season, as it gives consumers something to look forward to in regard to waiting for something they want to go on sale. As the name suggests the item on sale changes everyday, but so far Best Buy has offered savings on amazing technology such as the Bella Pro Series 8-quart air fryer, Nixplay digital photo frame, Wakeman camping tent and Conair Hot Air Brush Styler. 

Dell: If you’re in the market for a new PC laptop or computer this holiday season look no further than Dell. Dell is known already for being one of the most affordable and well-functioning brands in terms of their personal computers. The company has already begun rolling out some Black Friday deals on their monitors and other various electronics; currently laptop models are on sale for up to 28% off!

Home Depot: If you have a handy individual in your life you’ve most likely shopped at Home Depot for gifts before, or maybe you just need to pick up some new materials for a home improvement project and you don’t want to break the bank. Either way, Home Depot is already offering a multitude of holiday sales, their biggest has yet to come, however. From November 6th to December 2nd Home Depot will be offering deals on holiday decorations, appliances, tools, and more. You can even pre-order your Christmas Tree now to make it less stressful for you come December!

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Lowe’s: Keeping up with the home improvement theme, Lowe’s is also offering a bunch of holiday deals this year. Like Best Buy, Lowes has begun offering one-day Cyber Steals to motivate customers to check their website everyday for what the daily deal might be. So far the savings have reached up to 40% on select appliances and home renovation items!

Macy’s: Macy’s is known for being one of the go-to establishments on Black Friday, and this year they’re carrying that energy into their online Black Friday deals; which will officially begin on November 16th. Macy’s will have sales in every single one of their departments as usual. 

Target: Target will begin offering their Balck Friday deals throughout the entire month of November with discounts on home goods, clothing, accessories, electronics, and even groceries. Starting on November 29th customers will be able to preview the stores weekly Black Friday Now deals that will last for the entirety of the holiday season. Also, this year Target is introducing price-adjustments from November 1st to December 24th on any item that’s advertised as a Black Friday deal but offered at a lower price online or in store. 

Walmart: This retail giant normally always starts their Black Friday deals early in the season to ease some of the pressure of the actual day. Walmart is starting their deals on November 4th and will progressively add more and more as time goes on until it’s actual Black Friday.

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Target, Costco, And Other Major Retailers Gearing Up To Reopen To The Public

Stores and businesses that have been deemed as “essential” within the past few months are beginning to take steps to return to a life of normalcy. Customers are eager to return to some of their favorite establishments, however, some worker safety/labor groups are nervous that these companies are prematurely pulling back on health and safety measures while we’re still very much battling this deadly pandemic. 

More states and cities have begun loosening their stay-at-home orders, so it makes sense that businesses like Target, Walmart, Costco and Kroger are following suit. Last week New York City, which was previously an epicenter for the virus to spread, allowed retail stores to set up curbside pickup for their customers. California permitted all schools, gyms, movie theaters, and bars to reopen with modifications, and some states have opened nail salons, massage parlors, and bowling alleys. However, it’s these states that have decided to reopen that are now seeing massive spikes in case numbers. 

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More than 117,000 American citizens have died due to the Covid-19 virus; for comparison that’s more American lives lost than in World War 1. The economy has been heavily impacted with over 40 million individuals filing for unemployment within the past three months, and recently the stock market began to drop again due to fears of a second wave. 

“The safety measures retailers are rolling back are good practices for preventing both Covid-19 and future pandemics. We should keep simple prevention measures such as these in place as long as possible as we move towards reopening the economy to ensure a new wave of infections does not force us to again shelter in place,”  said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Riverside.

Currently there are no federal requirements for how or when these “essential” stores are able to reopen, it’s more so up to the state or local governments. Costco, specifically, is beginning to bring back their free samples in a number of stores nationwide. The CFO of Costco, Richard Galanti, claims that all the samples are pre-packaged and the company will likely put up a plexiglass barrier between the server, samples, and customer. 

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A spokesperson for Target recently announced that they would be reopening the Starbucks located within the store in some locations but they’re taking “a careful market-by-market approach, and in some cases store-by-store, to ensure [they] prioritize the health and safety of our team and guests.”

“There’s a collective and growing recognition that [retailers] are likely falling well below pre-pandemic profitability levels as a percentage of sales. They need more in-store sales across categories — not just grocery and not just online or click-and-collect. They want feet through the door,” said Doug Stephens, founder of consulting firm Retail Prophet.

Obviously there’s a strong desire to get everyone back to work and to return to a life of normalcy, however, prematurely loosening these restrictions could potentially further influence how bad of a second wave America will face in the fall. Labor groups are taking to social media to express their disapproval of the decision for these establishments to reopen. While most are emphasizing their new health and safety procedures, it still doesn’t seem like enough for some. 

Regardless, it’s important that everyone continues to listen to their healthcare providers and protect themselves as much as possible when out in public.

J.C.Penney

J.C. Penney Filing For Bankruptcy And Possibly Closing 200 Stores

The coronavirus pandemic has been impacting the economy since it first entered into the United States. Over 30 million people have lost their jobs in a matter of weeks, leading to tens of thousands of businesses closing, including some of the biggest names in retail. 

Most recently, J.C. Penney announced this Thursday, May 14th, that they would be filing for bankruptcy, likely by the end of the week. The beloved retail giant has been around since 1902, and advisers from the company announced that they’re hoping to file for the bankruptcy protection, but also believe there still might be a chance to negotiate between the retailer and its lenders.

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As of February this year, J.C. Penney employed about 90,000 Americans with full-time and part-time positions. Those workers were spread throughout 846 department stores all throughout the country, and through their negotiations advisers are hoping they only will have to close around 200 of those; while that is still a large number of stores, given the state of the economy, J.C. Penney executives say that would be their best bet. 

Previous reports have claimed that The Plano, a Texas-based retailer, is going to be filing for bankruptcy in the town of Corpus Christi; also in Texas. The initial negotiations sought out to grant the retailer a $450 million loan to help finance the entire bankruptcy, however, in order to meet the specific requirements for that loan, J.C. Penney would likely have to have its stores open to make enough revenue.  

The company may need to wait until June to get a proper court hearing to finalize all the bankruptcy documents, and if all runs smoothly, J.C. Penney will begin to have access to that major loan to try to keep their company as afloat as possible. 

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“In filing for bankruptcy, J.C. Penney will join fellow department stores Neiman Marcus and Stage Stores as victims of the pandemic, which has forced their doors shut but whose ailments far predated the virus. Department stores have struggled to maintain a foothold in U.S. retail, as brands sidestepped them by selling to shoppers directly, and shoppers have abandoned the mall in which many are based,” according to CNBC.

The reality for J.C. Penney, however, is that the company has been seeing a decline in sales since 106, long before this pandemic was even thought of as a possibility. For example, the 846 stores that were open before Covid-19 is just 25% of the amount of retail locations the company had in 2001. In 2019, J.C. Penney made about $11 billion in sales, and while that may seem like a lot, when they were thriving in 2001 they made about three times that amount. 

2010 was the last time an investor really tried to revive the retailer to return back to its 2001 glory. Bill Ackman and Ron Johnson invested in the company and implemented many new ideas to try to draw customers back into its aisles. However, after a few years, they could tell consumers were literally not buying what they were selling, so they pulled out of their investment and the company had to take out a $2.25 billion loan. 

Ever since that point the company has struggled to remain open, and the coronavirus pandemic was the boiling point for filing for bankruptcy. Now the company is solely focused on recovery and support efforts for its employees.

Retail Therapy

Does Retail Therapy Actually Work?

We’ve all had dark moments in our life that require some sort of therapy to help remind us who we are. Besides actually going to therapy, which is always the best thing to do in times of mental distress, there are a ton of ways that people cope with hard times in their life. Whether it be watching your favorite romantic comedy with your best friends and eating an entire pint of ice cream, or heading down to the mall and indulging in some retail therapy, there’s a multitude of ways to help distract ourselves from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, but how effective are these methods of coping actually?

When it comes to retail therapy specifically, there’s no doubt that buying a brand new pair of shoes or a nice expensive denim jacket will definitely make anyone feel a lot more stylish and better in the moment. But how efficient is shopping for pleasure in the long run when it comes to dealing with certain stresses in our lives? 

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“Purchases made during a retail therapy session are unexpectedly beneficial, which leads to mood boosts with no regret or guilt. Retail Therapy is a strategic effort and process and retailers could learn from their personal findings as well. When done in moderation, retail therapy can be an extremely beneficial tool to help boost your mood,” said Margaret Meloy, the lead author of a recent study on retail therapy.

Obviously, the effectiveness of retail therapy is situational to your specific emotional state, however, there are some general conclusions about it that show it really is beneficial. Studies suggest that using shopping as a means of coping with uncertainties in our lives puts us back in control when we find ourselves in situations where we feel the opposite. You’re the one deciding where you want to shop, how much you want to spend, what you want to get, etc. and therefore are reminding yourself that you are in control of your own life and the path you choose to go down. 

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Evidence also suggests that shopping can be a great way of mentally preparing yourself when facing any sort of change/new phase in your own life. Before you make a purchase, there’s a certain level of thinking that goes into it. For the sake of argument let’s say we’re talking about buying a brand new pair of pink pants that are a little out of your comfort zone in terms of style. Before you buy them, internally you’re going to think about where you’d wear the pants, what draws you to them, and eventually, should you choose to purchase them, why none of that really matters and that you simply just want the pants. 

The simple type of logic that goes into buying new clothing, or anything for that matter, for ourselves can be used for the mental stresses we face in our own lives. Say you have to move cities if you want to keep your job, you’re going to think about where you’re going to be heading, what might draw you there, and eventually, should you choose to make the move, why none of that really matters and that changes in life are good and show that you’re growing as an individual; see the connection?

Additionally, research has suggested that shopping causes the average individual to get excited and releases the hormone responsible for happiness in our brains, dopamine, which is especially helpful when we are facing challenges in life and our dopamine levels are feeling the effects. The activity itself also requires us to move around and interact with others in order to find what we’re looking for, so it builds our social skills and ability to hold casual conversations, while keeping our physical bodies active. 

While retail therapy will never have the same effectiveness as actual professional therapy, the facts are there. Shopping helps remind us that we’re in control of our own lives, capable of making decisions, and can do anything we set our minds to, even if that means just buying a new pair of pink pants!