The world is doomed. At least that’s the feeling that spreads. Climate, pandemic, war, inflation – the world’s crises do not exactly inspire optimism for the future. This hits Millennials and Gen Z the hardest. Unlike other generations before them, they are increasingly losing faith in being able to build something for themselves. Instead of saving the money they have earned for later, they hit their heads straight away – and do so extremely excessively. With so-called doomspending, which means something like “disastrous shopping”, they are trying to cure themselves of the pain caused by the tsunami of negative reports. Fears and worries are supposed to be alleviated through impulse purchases. It’s an expensive trade for a bit of happiness.

Shopping as self-therapy is not a new phenomenon. Scientific studies have shown that a little spending spree can actually have a positive effect on your mood. This is because the brain releases dopamine, a messenger substance that is also known as the happiness hormone and triggers feelings of happiness. This is known, among other things, from frustration shopping, i.e. the quick, cheap kick that can make a bad day a little better. Doomspending, on the other hand, according to “Bloomberg”, is something like the hardcore version of the so-called girls’ math, which goes: If the pants are reduced by 20 euros, I have saved 20 euros.

“We’re seeing people shopping mindlessly to calm their worries about the economy and foreign policy that could affect their financial well-being,” said Courtney Alev, consultant at Credit Karma, in a report on a survey that conducted the study Financial company carried out in the USA at the end of last year. Mobile shopping promotes doomspending in the same disastrous way as the flood of news on smartphones promotes doomscrolling. Doomscrolling refers to the fact that you spend (too) much time on the screen reading negative news.

According to the report, fears about the future are increasingly driving younger generations in particular into expensive consumption and are spending more money than usual. A 24-year-old told “Bloomberg News” that she justified her occasional “small luxury purchases” with global warming, political and social unrest in the world and the poor economic situation. The “small” luxury: a Chanel bag for the equivalent of around 2300 euros. If saving alone doesn’t bring you anywhere near the amount of money that would be necessary to buy a house, for example, she explains, it’s simply “easier to spend money on things that give you instant gratification.” The idea that saving is not worth it in the long term, so giving it up isn’t worth it, and therefore acts as a driver for unreasonable spending.

Psychologist Dion Terrelonge, also known as “The Fashion Psychologist,” describes young people’s tendency to invest in luxury items to Vogue as a way to at least regain a sense of control. “Doomspends [are] an expression of what we call the shift from passive to active. Where the passive is the many things we might want to change in the world but can’t, and the active is the purchase of things,” he said Terrelonge.

The problem: No handbag, no matter how beautiful, can solve the world’s crises. Consumption only has a short-term positive effect. In addition, dopamine always comes with a downside: the release of the happiness hormone can be addictive. In a society where consumption is very important, this is no small danger.

Quellen: Bloomberg, Business Insider, Psychology Today,Vogue