Is Online Shopping An Addiction? If Yes, How To Get Rid Of It?

Online shopping has been here for a time now however, it has surged since the coronavirus outbreak. As people couldn’t go out they used to get stuff delivered to their homes. Shopping online was already easy but the payment methods and techniques have made it easier to just buy whatever you see. 

Here a lot of people get a habit of shopping online. This habit if remains unchecked develops into an addiction and it’s called compulsive buying. So is online shopping addiction? Yes, it can be addictive. Let’s have a look at its signs and how you can get rid of it. 

Is online shopping an addiction


What is addiction to online shopping? 

Addiction to online shopping or compulsive buying is a behavioral addiction. The addicted person finds pleasure in buying stuff whether he needs it or not. The addicts can sometimes feel bad after making a purchase. And sometimes they just don’t care. They don’t even think about it. 

It’s not always associated with buying. Just spending too much time on online sites and apps is also an addiction. 

7 Signs and symptoms of an online shopping addiction:

Let’s see the signs that can help you diagnose the addiction to compulsive buying.

  1. You spend too much time on shopping sites, apps, and product reviews.
  2. You buy a lot of stuff even though you don’t need it. 
  3. You’re not happy with the products you’re buying. You just buy to repeat the process. 
  4. You find pleasure and relaxation in online shopping.
  5. People around you start to notice this behavior and point it out. 
  6. This behavior is messing with your relationships and work. 
  7. You’re getting aggressive and always think about shopping. 

If you’ve observed the above symptoms in yourself or in someone it means they’re addicted to online shopping. 

Cause of addiction to compulsive buying: 

The exact cause of this behavioral addiction is unknown as a very little study is done on the topic. Research has shown compulsive buying addiction as a mental disorder that needs to be treated. 

Despite the unknown cause, we know how this simple act of buying stuff online can become an addiction. It works in the same manner as other behavioral addictions. The process of buying stuff gives the body a dopamine boost, thus making the person feel good. To get the same pleasure again, the person repeats the same process until it becomes an addiction. 

Let’s try to understand the reason behind this behavior: 

The exact medical cause is not known. However, we can dive deep into a person’s case to know what triggers him to do so. There can be 2 cases, 

  1. This addiction to online shopping is the effect of something else like depression and stress. 
  2. This addiction isn’t due to something else but it is the main problem. 

How to get rid of addiction to online shopping: 

Following are some ways that can help you get rid of this addiction. However, before you rush toward the measures make sure to understand the root cause very well. Either it’s a result of any stress and depression or it’s just an addiction. 

What we’re trying to do is understand the root cause and eliminate it. So if your compulsive buying is due to depression your main goal is to treat that. If there’s no reason behind this behavior then you need to work on eliminating this addiction. 


  1. Take a deep dive into your behavior:

The first thing is to observe yourself and your behavior. You already identify your behavior as addiction or an effect of depression. Now we need to dig deeper. Try to find answers to the following questions, 

What triggers you to shop online or scroll aimlessly through shopping apps and sites? Try to observe your emotions and feelings when you start to indulge in shopping. Are you feeling bored, anxious, sad, lonely, or what? What was going on in your mind at that time? 

Are there any problems which you’re trying to find escape through compulsive shopping? Financial or relationship problems? 

This can be true that you don’t have any certain emotions triggering this behavior. You feel an urge to buy something and it makes you happy. If this is the case then it’s pure addiction. 

  1. Select another activity: 

Once you’ve identified the emotions try responding to them in a better way. If you feel lonely or sad try talking to your friends and spending time with your family. Share your emotions with them. Tell them what you’re feeling. 

If you feel bored or anxious find any other habit. Do something else that you like to do. Exercise, go on a walk, read a book, watch a tv show, listen to a podcast or practice a hobby. 

Even if it’s an addiction, you need to find something else to do. 

  1. Slowly replace the habit of online shopping: 

After figuring out what you wanna replace your habit with, start practicing it. Make it a hobby. In this way, you won’t have time to do online shopping. Your mind will be busy with something as well. You can refrain from mindless scrolling. 

It won’t be possible to cut it off completely. Slowly and gradually decrease the habit of online shopping and increase spending your time on other activities. 

  1. Set goals: 

Set goals to lessen the time and amount of stuff you buy. Give yourself a limit that you won’t spend more than XYZ amount of money this month. Secondly, limit yourself to how much time you spend scrolling shopping sites and apps. 

  1. Monitor your behavior: 

Create a check and balance on yourself. Monitoring will help you realize how much time and energy you spend feeding this addiction. Moreover, it’ll help you in reducing it effectively. 

You need to monitor the following 2 things,

  • How much time do you spend on online sites and apps? 
  • How much stuff do you buy?

This is how you can monitor yourself: 

  • Start a stopwatch or set a timer whenever you’re using shopping apps and sites. 
  • Maintain a record of all the products you order. 
  • Keep a record of all this in a journal. 
  • Uninstall all the shopping apps so you don’t open them from time to time. 


  1. Get an accountability partner:

It’s difficult to follow a path or break a habit when there’s no one to question you. Ask your family member or friend to help you. Held yourself accountable to them. If necessary put a punishment and reward system as well. Like if you followed what you decided you’ll get a reward or else there will be a small punishment. It can be anything, for example, not eating your favourite food or watching your favourite tv show. 

  1. Be mindful: 

Whenever you’re about to order something ask yourself, do I really need this? Will I use it? This will help you to stop buying unnecessary stuff. 

  1. Seek professional help: 

If stress, depression or anxiety are the reasons behind this behaviour of yours seek professional help. Get an appointment with a therapist. 

Frequently asked questions: 

  1. What is the effect of online shopping addiction? 

Just like any addiction online shopping addiction is also harmful. It affects your personal, professional and social life. As you shop too much it can get you into debt. It messes with your relationships. You become grumpy and aggressive. You can’t focus on other things as you always think about shopping. 

  1. What do you call a person who’s addicted to shopping? 

Generally, we call such a person a shopaholic. In medical terms, there’s a proper word for it. It’s “Oniomania”. 


Hope you’ve got the answer to the question, Is online shopping addiction? This simple act can be addictive and is referred to as a mental illness called compulsive buying or compulsive shopping. 

We also discussed how you can get rid of your addiction to online shopping. It’s behavioural addiction and it’ll take time to get rid of it completely. 

Shanzay Aziz