The Excitement of the Hunt and the Joy of the Find:
First of its kind retail study by MindLab International reveals that shopping is good for your health
Framingham, MA (May 28, 2008) /PRNewswire/ – A new study reveals that shopping and discovering an unbelievable fashion find produces a euphoric experience greater than sky diving, kissing or eating chocolate — increasing heart rates to 192 beats per minute, more than triple the normal resting heart rate of 60. While it has long been known that many women enjoy shopping—it is something they do willingly and often-now there is evidence that shopping does actually bring physical happiness. The research, conducted by renowned researcher Dr. David Lewis of the MindLab International on behalf of T.J. Maxx, scientifically reveals that finding a bargain is in fact, a euphoric experience that did not occur in women shopping a department, discount and specialty store.
These findings come as a welcome response to the current economic backdrop in our country, particularly for an off-price retailer such as T.J. Maxx. In today's economy, consumers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars, while not sacrificing their love of designer brand merchandise. This study illustrates that when consumers spend money, they can feel good if they are smarter about their choices.
The "Retail Therapy Study," investigated the physical and mental responses of twelve female consumers who shopped at an off-price, discount and department store. While the women browsed through merchandise, their brain activity, heart rate and physical excitement was monitored and eye cameras recorded what they saw while shopping. Results revealed that finding a bargain has a profound effect on brain activity – and further exposes that shopping at an off-price retailer, such as T.J. Maxx, stimulates brain chemistry, releasing endorphins into the body and producing a feeling of overall well-being.
"Through our analysis, we found that only when the women shopped at T.J. Maxx did all three measured activities simultaneously increase. This reaction caused the release of endorphins which created an electric current to flow freely in their bodies," said Dr. Lewis.
"It was remarkable to see that the hunt and find shopping behavior that occurred at the off-price retailer created such a unique reaction unlike what we found at other retailers."
The 'Retail Therapy' findings support a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study that took a closer look at which parts of the brain predict purchases. MIT found that each time we shop, there is a mental tug of war between the pleasure of owning an item and the pain of paying for it. The research revealed that in determining how attainable something is, we are driven by a combination of consumer preference and price: preference may lead to a purchase, but since consumers avoid prices that seem excessive, they will buy their preferred item only when the price is right. Once these factors are weighed and the decision to buy is made, the shoppers felt satisfied and happy with their purchase.
Together, this research scientifically proves that bargain shopping is innate behavior; it also makes you feel great, producing as much of a thrill as sky diving. Even more shocking, when heart rates were measured during other pleasurable experiences, such as eating chocolate or kissing a loved one, no experience got the heart pumping as quickly as scoring that great find while shopping. In fact, eating chocolate increased heart rates to 140 beats per minute, while kissing produced only a heart rate of 90; neither experience caused the heart to beat close to the 192 beats per minute achieved while finding a fabulous piece of merchandise.
"We know that women brag about their amazing finds all the time and it's fabulous to be able to validate the 'high' these shoppers have been experiencing," said Sonya Cosentini, T.J. Maxx Spokesperson. "Shopping at an off-price retailer such as T.J. Maxx, especially in today's economy, is a smart way to buy designer and brand name merchandise and still feel great."
About The MindLab International
Mind Lab International is the UK's leading independent research laboratory specialising in recording and analysing human mental and physical performance under a wide range of real life conditions. Based at the University of Sussex, on the South Coast of England, and headed by neuroscientists Dr David Lewis and Darren Bridger, it operates on a world-wide basis. A major area of research involves using the latest brain monitoring technology to discover what's going on in the minds of consumers while they are shopping.
T.J. Maxx is a Massachusetts-based off-price retailer with more than 850 stores nationwide. The stores offer amazing savings every day on brand name and designer fashions for the entire family and home. You can also find an incredible, ever-changing assortment of accessories; including jewelry, ladies' shoes, handbags, belts and luggage. With new merchandise arriving every week to each store, it's a whole new store every time you shop! For the nearest T.J. Maxx store, call 1-800-2TJ-MAXX or visit tjmaxx.com.