Fashion Opinion

Is Shopping a Hobby or an Addiction?

Is Shopping a Hobby or an Addiction?
  • PublishedOctober 3, 2022

Many people would argue that shopping is a hobby, but a lot of others would say otherwise. You might love browsing the sale rail, finding that bargain in the corner, or picking up a great item that you know no-one else will have.

But where is the cutoff between enjoying shopping, going shopping for fun and having a problem with buying more stuff that you don’t need?

We’re going to dig into the world of shopping, and try to understand whether shopping can ever really be a hobby, or if shopping is an addiction, as there are many different shops you can buy, even in the UK, as they use shop front designers to create great shop fronts and attract clients.

What is the definition of a hobby?

The answer from the Oxford English Dictionary is quite simple. A hobby is:

“…an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.”

Additional definitions include; “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation” and  “an activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working”.

There are a few things in common with these definitions. The first one is that whatever you’re doing has to bring you pleasure, relaxation or happiness. In short, a kind of positive feeling sensation or that dopamine hit. 

The second part is that you likely do it in your leisure time, not necessarily for work. The thing that’s not mentioned in the third definition is that a hobby should be a regular activity. It doesn’t really count as a hobby if you only do it once in a blue moon, although of course there’s no real timeframe to measure this.

So, let’s say you go shopping every week for clothes and you really enjoy yourself while doing it. Congratulations, you have a hobby.

Is shopping a hobby an addiction?

Shopping is a lot of fun for some people. And in our social media age, people like to look good, get the best new clothes or tech, and dress in the best designer gear. And, if you have the money to support your habit, you can go shopping regularly online and on the high street.

Like most fun things, the lines can become blurred between fun and addiction. This can apply to anything from social drinking or sex, to gambling, or even drugs, so is better to get help in specialized centers for this, click here to learn more about this.

Most people can’t tell when they have stepped into addiction territory, because they are usually in denial about it or don’t even know how to tell the difference.  Learn kore about addiction recovery by checking out

One key sentence to look out for during these times is “I could stop whenever, I just don’t want to.” 

Then do so. 

Stop for a little while, maybe a month or so, then pay close attention to where your thoughts are. This can easily determine if you have a healthy hobby or not.

When does shopping become a problem?

Let’s say that you overspend every time you go shopping and it starts to cripple you financially, yet you still cannot stop. If this happens to you, then you do not have a hobby, you have an addiction. 

It’s a legitimate problem, so don’t ignore it until you get crushed by credit card debt. You can find groups for shopaholics who are struggling with the same thing. A hobby might be costly, but you won’t have a problem with stopping if it’s causing you harm or stress.

Another thing to watch out for is hoarding. If you bring new stuff into your home constantly, then it will pile up eventually. 

You have probably seen the shows where they show the way hoarders live, how many boxes and how much filth they have in their house and even though these are quite severe cases, you still don’t want to end up on the same road. 

If you can see this happening to yourself but don’t want to stop shopping, maybe you should consider donating a few items. 

This way you can keep your hobby and you will also be helping others. You can have your cake and eat it too.

Shopping addiction is a problem that can be financially crippling

How did shopping become a hobby?

Buying necessities, clothes and food used to be a drag. People had to travel longer distances, didn’t have as many options and usually struggled to find clothing items that fit perfectly (having something that they actually liked was quite unusual too, it was practicality over aesthetics). 

However this changed in the last century and even more so in the last decade.

First of all, there are shops everywhere now. 

If you are only looking to buy a loaf of bread then you don’t need to go to the other side of the city, you can just pop down to the corner store. 

Clothing shops have all kinds of sizes now in all kinds of color. But even if you are a size that is not often found in mainstream shops you will likely find a specialty store nearby. 

Buying necessities for a household isn’t a struggle anymore either, you can find everything in the same aisle, you can compare prices by unit and all of it is right in front of you.

This way, everything turned super convenient. So much so that as people started having more free time in the afternoons they began spending it in shops, looking for the perfect item. 

Entertainment places started noticing this and malls came to be. Hanging out in a shopping center now meant that you could go watch a movie, have fast food, drink specialty coffee, do your shopping and look at the newest fashion in one place. It soon became the place for friend groups to go to.

However it became even more convenient to shop with the internet. You can order anything your heart desires and it will only take you a couple of minutes, you just need a few days of waiting for your package to arrive. And it will be delivered straight to your door.

Does fast fashion cause shopping addiction?

Since fast fashion became a thing a lot of people started doing their clothes shopping online too, since as long as you know your size you can pretty much get yourself anything. 

Shein is the king of all this recently, especially when it comes to plus sizes, as they offer a huge variety in sizes up to 4XL. 

Even if you go to a plus size specialty shop you won’t get this kind of diversity, since they usually carry a few items of the same style in dark colors.

Fast fashion is the reason that shopping as a hobby is turning toxic though, so if you have started ordering your clothes online you might want to reconsider it. 

There are many reasons behind as to why you might want to stick to regular brands or maybe even thrift stores, too many to include in this article. These include damage to the environment and your health, the amount of waste it generates and usually fast fashion items wear out much quicker too. Shopping online as a hobby can be great, however it’s usually best to educate ourselves on a few of these matters before hitting “Place order”.

Written By
Heidi Nemeth

I'm a professional content writer and journalist, specialising in lifestyle, the occult and mental health.

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