Times too tough to shop guilt-free? Do it on the sly

Thu May 28, 2009 12:30am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Shopping on the sly? Most people are during these tough economic times, with a survey showing that buyers either hide their purchases, or downplay their price, to appear thrifty.

The poll, commissioned by shopping website eBay in Australia, revealed that as many as 8 in 10 people continue to treat themselves to purchases despite the recession, which they stash away from friends and family.

Just over half admitted they did not tell their loved ones the true price of what they bought, because they "wouldn't understand" the true value of the item.

"Reflecting the current mood of consumers during these tough times, the survey found one in six respondents felt it didn't seem right to be spending money during a financial crisis as people continue to lose jobs, try to save money or reduce debt," eBay spokesperson Sian Gipslis said in a statement.

The survey revealed that the number one item that Australians hide is clothing, with over a third confessing to smuggling items home or concealing their purchase in some way.

Other items hid by shoppers include electronics, accessories, books and magazines.

Guilt also appeared to be fuelling this "closet buying" trend, with a third of respondents saying they knew they should not be shopping during the economic downturn.

But the majority of people -- more than 70 percent -- said they just could not resist shopping, with nearly half secretly logging onto retail websites to make their purchasing more discreet and because they believed online offered better value.

More men than women also indulged in online closet buying, the survey showed.   Continued...

<p>A placard advertising an eBay app for Apple is shown in San Francisco, California, April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>