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Keywords:

  • Shopping;
  • clothing;
  • dysfunction;
  • dependence;
  • males;
  • sexual orientation

Abstract

Shopping is not always ‘fun’ and is not always ‘therapeutic’, yet, the negative aspects and motivations for this behaviour have received little attention. Consumers often may be dependent upon shopping activity to satisfy personal needs, such as emotional repair and self-image, which are far removed from the acquisition and use of products. Not only may this dependence be dysfunctional in that it signals an individual's inability to control their shopping behaviour but also it may be symptomatic of more serious problems, such as compulsive and even addictive shopping. This paper explores this shopping dependence in the context of fashion clothing consumption. Male consumers are considered, with sexual orientation employed as an indicator of behaviour. Data from a survey of 225 homosexual and 225 heterosexual UK males suggest that homosexual males display clothes shopping dependence, and at a level that is significantly stronger than for heterosexuals. Younger males show a greater tendency to display such behaviour, with dependence declining with age for both groups. Managerial and research implications are considered. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.