Shopping And The Six Human Needs

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shopping Messages, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

What drives human behaviour has long fascinated us – everyone from philosophers, writers, therapists, politicians, comedians, coaches, bosses, parents, spouses, marketers, business owners have been intrigued by what makes people behave the way they do.  In fact, it’s hard to think of a field of human endeavour where some understanding of what drives human behaviour isn’t relevant, if not essential.

So it intrigued me to consider the Six Human Needs that Anthony Robbins identified and to apply them to shopping – and overshopping in particular.

The Six Human Needs

6 human needs

This is Part 1 of The Six Human Needs And Shopping and in this article, we’ll look at the first 3 of the Six Human Needs:

1. Certainty

2. Variety (Uncertainty)

3. Significance

Certainty and Shopping

If certainty is a core need for you, then shopping (and overshopping) can meet that need perfectly. Shopping is always there – there are always shops to be shopped at. There’s never any concern that the shops won’t be there, or won’t be open, or won’t want to take your trade.

If you are living with a lot of uncertainty in other parts of your life (major life transitions or upheavals such as job changes, home or geographical moves, relationship breakdowns, children leaving home, parents (or partner or yourself) becoming seriously sick, getting older and wondering what life is all about) then shopping can seem like an easy thing to turn to – you can rely on it, after all – it’s always going to be there.

Variety and Shopping

Shopping meets many a need for variety – there is so much stimulation in a shopping environment! Things to see, touch, smell hear. People to interact with, watch, talk to, and be sold to by (that’s why they’re called “sales people”).

One of the reasons some women overshop is pure boredom. They have a need for variety and stimulation that simply isn’t being met elsewhere, and shopping seems to be a quick and easy fix for that particular need. Unfortunately, it’s also a shot in the arm that wears off very quickly – sometimes before you’ve even walked out the door of the store if not by the time you’ve put the bags in your car.

Significance and Shopping

Shopping offers many opportunities to have needs of significance met. Shopping (and especially overshopping) can provide drama, it can bring an exclusive focus on you, you, you, more, more, more. There’s that elusive dream/quest of searching for the perfect outfit, the perfect item – you know the one I mean, the one that will complete you.

Shopping, and overshopping, puts you in the spotlight, however briefly. It can make you feel like the star of the show, the centre of attention, like you are important, unique, special. Shopping, and overshopping, can make you feel like you are seen and of significance.

Points to Ponder

Which of these 3 of the Six Human Needs would you say drive you the most when it comes to your shopping? What impact does this need have on your shopping behaviour and habits? And on how you think and feel about shopping, and yourself as a consumer?

We’ll pick up Part 2 of The Six Human Needs in the next article in this series.


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