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Why Do People Feel Compelled to Buy Luxury Goods?



It’s a phenomenon many of us will have experienced at least once in our life —and some much more than others—that moment where you spot that dream item and wrestle with the decision over whether to take the plunge and buy it.

Whether it be a designer handbag, a new pair of shoes or the latest flat screen television, there’s no doubting that luxury goods like these can have a major effect on our happiness—but obviously the effect on our bank balances isn’t as positive.

According to Deloitte, total money spent in in the luxury goods market reached almost $250 billion last year,so why do we get our heads turned by such products?

Look good, feel good

Rightly or wrongly, a lot of us equate personal well being to our outward image and the way we look. As a result, we can place great importance on picking up the luxury items that we feel will enhance our appearance in the eyes of others. If we feel we are being looked at in an admiring way — maybe because of the expensive clothes we’re wearing or the fast car we drive —then that boosts our confidence and makes us feel good about ourselves.


Often, the psychological cause of our temptation to spend can be rooted in irrationality. Spotting that luxury product and making a snap decision to buy it can sometimes be the result of an illogical thought process, where we believe that owning such an item will improve our lives when perhaps, in some instances, we neither need it nor can realistically afford it.


However, there’s no doubting that acquiring lavish items can prove a smart decision. For example, a designer handbag may come with a much higher price tag than your average department store offering, but the upside of owning such a product is that it will have been carefully crafted and made to last. If it’s an item you really want, you may need to consider alternative options to fund such a purchase, but that added quality of work ought to last for a long time, offering greater value.


Being seen in possession of more extravagant items can be viewed as a sign of wealth, which in turn brings with it an assumed level of social standing. This is important to many people, which is why they are happy to spend a little extra on the latest designer coat, a fancy watch or a glittering piece of jewellery.