Mobile Shopping on the Rise Marks Heightened Retail Addiction

More people are mobile shopping on the go, making retail addiction a more serious thing.
More people are mobile shopping on the go, making retail addiction a more serious thing.

Cyber Monday

marked the single biggest day of online shopping ever with $1.25 billion spent on November 28-a 21.7% rise from last year, Women's Wear Daily reports. But what industry experts didn't predict was the huge increase in mobile shopping. Now there's evidence that 38% of smart phone users hop on their phones to make purchases at home, work, school, restaurants, and while traveling or commuting. Other places we're convinced people shop from: bars (drunk shopping!) and-dare we say it-the bathroom. One in three mobile purchases were made while the shopper was in the store. Talk about retail addiction.

Yahoo! Shine spoke with Kimberly Amadeo, Guide to the U.S. Economy for about this growing group of tech-savvy consumers. "The use of mobile shopping has tripled in the last two years," Amadeo told us. 17.8 million people were using mobile devices to shop on Cyber Monday according to a survey by the National Retail Federation." Their survey estimated that an even larger amount-57% of smart phone users-shopped by phone over Black Friday weekend. "Of those, 37.4% said they would use it to research products and compare prices," Amadeo told us. "Increased use of smart phones could, therefore, lead to better shopping decisions." She points out that increased mobile apps and QR codes in magazine and billboard ads are making buying via devices increasingly easier. For example, WWD reports that eBay's mobile app has been downloaded 58 million times since its launch three years ago and accounts for an average of $15.5 million a day in auction sales.

To find out more about the emotions and behaviors that surround mobile shopping, Yahoo! Shine spoke with Leslie Greenman, a financial adviser and author of the new book "Dating Our Money: A Women's Guide to Confidence with Money & Men." "It's important to think of food and money as having a lot of similar traits," Greenman told us. "People are impulsive about the way they eat. 'I want a chocolate chip cookie NOW.' It's the same thing with shopping, so I can absolutely understand why people are turning to phones to shop. We also impulse shop more when we're sad just like we eat when we're sad. We shop to get that high-and you can feel very alone in December." Amadeo agrees with Greenman on the risky behavior. "Like any other addiction, shopping gives a temporary relief to an inner void. It boosts self-esteem. Most of all, it is easy and uncomplicated compared to many other life situations.

Worried you may have gone overboard with holiday shopping? Here are five warning signs:

1. You shop more for yourself than other people
Greenman says, "Often people see something they like for a friend and say, 'I'll just get one for myself too so I don't have to come back later.'" Amadeo says 60% of people admitted they'd shop for themselves over the holidays, so it looks like some of us may be in trouble.

2. It's sucking up all your time
"The gifts are going to be quickly forgotten," says Greenman. "Are you using your time for things you'll remember next year? You'll remember lunch and a pedicure with your friend more than the physical gift."

3. You have no budget or strategy
"Sit down, look at your credit card debt, and see realistically how much you can spend," says Greenman. "No one wants to be the Grinch, but you do need to have some plan in place or you're going to overspend."

4. You're relying on credit cards

"With smart phones shopping is very easy and convenient, but a lot harder to track our spending," says Greenman. "People spend 12-18% more when using credit cards so to gain accountability people should use cash. 14 million Americans are still paying off last year's holiday debt and we're creating this toxic environment with cumulative debt that's going to destroy our financial future and hopes of a good retirement."

5. You hide your purchases, feel guilty afterward, or are constantly returning things
Amadeo suggests checking out a list of 15 questions at, which also provides locations of free support group meetings.

If that's not depressing enough, Greenman says to beware the dreaded "Christmas hangover" and offered up some great advice to avoid it. "Instead of shopping why not volunteer or host a dinner party for friends? If we focus too much on shopping we've lost the most valuable and priceless gift, which is our love and time. That's what people will remember after gifts are opened. Spend of your time and not of your money and you'll reap far bigger dividends."

Related links:
Crazy Black Friday Stats, Stories, and Videos
America's Hottest Clothing Chains
14 holiday shopping secrets
5 hidden costs of holiday shopping