How Social Media Consumerism Is Negatively Affecting You


Image by Mediamodifierfrom Pixabay

It used to be that when someone wanted to purchase a product, we would go into the store and talk to the store employee or ask a friend or family member about the product. We also usually only purchased the products that we needed and saved products we wanted for gifts. Now, we are constantly bombarded with people trying to sell us everything online, from detox teas to watches to appliances. We now have instant access to product information online, from reviews to specs and if we can’t find what we’re looking for we can post our questions on social media. We are constantly posting what we eat, what we buy, what we wear; our posts on social media have become consumption-oriented, there is much more targeted advertising, and it has become easier than ever (and immediate) to shop online. Here are some ways that social media consumerism affects you (and not in a good way):

Excessive Spending


Image by Hannes Edinger from Pixabay

Social media has such a huge influence on how we spend our money, especially with a majority of what we see online being consumer-based. It is a huge marketing platform and seeing these kinds of posts can lead to excessive spending on our part, quite often on products we don’t actually need. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that what we are seeing is an advertisement because it is so specific. Trying to keep up with those you see online, impulse buys, or not wanting to be left out are all reasons that social media gives us for spending our money, and most of the time it convinces us to make purchases that we cannot usually afford.

Increased Negative Feelings

It is well known that social media is not good for our mental health; we constantly compare ourselves to those we see online and due to the push on consumerism, we are frequently reminded of what we don’t have. Everyone is out enjoying their fancy vacations and good food, and here I am at home eating crackers, feeling terrible and wondering why I’m not in Greece eating whatever it is you eat in Greece. I am well aware that a majority of social media is fiction, but it still feels unfair. Research done on the link between consumer-based content and well-being found that these posts trigger social comparison, which lowers self-esteem and increases anxiety levels. These feelings sometimes led to retail therapy and shopping sprees, as participants in their survey hoped to close the gap between what they saw online and their own lives (Hillbun, 2018). Of course, this didn’t solve the problem and actually created more troubles as it increased financial debt for the participants (and of course, the comparisons don’t stop).

Social media is a great tool as we can use it to make informed decisions about our purchases, but we need to be more aware of how social media affects our spending and how it contributes to over consumerism. Creating a budget, asking yourself if the item is a ‘want’ or a ‘need’, and being more self-aware are a few ways to disrupt social media’s influence on your wallet (Carter, 2018).

Were you aware that social media affects you? What other affects have you found social media has on your spending habits? Leave me a comment below!


Facebook: Is Social Media Affecting Your Spending?

Twitter: watching out for #consumerism on social media

Becker, Joshua. “How Social Media Influences Us to Buy.” Becoming Minimalist, 2019,

Carter, Shawn. “Social Media May Be Making You Overspend-And It’s Not Just Because of the Ads.” CNBC, 15 March 2018,

Collins Community Credit Union. “How Social Media is Affecting Your Spending.” 8 January 2018,

Ho, Hillbun. “Commentary: Unhealthy Culture of Consumerism on Social Media Fueling Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem.” CNA, 7 August 2018,

6 thoughts on “How Social Media Consumerism Is Negatively Affecting You

  1. I have definitely purchased items that I saw suggested on Facebook – from small stuff to most recently, a drone. Some of these items, I wasn’t even aware of before seeing the ad. They definitely create a demand that was not there previously.

    There is also the persistence of the advertising to consider. If I click on one thing one time, I am bombarded with similar things forever. One thing I have found myself doing lately is culling my “advertising preferences” to remove things that I’m no longer interested in, or was never interested in at all.

  2. This is a great topic! I know that personally I’m extremely susceptible to the increase in consumerism. It doesn’t help that I sometime online shop for inspiration (for outfits etc…)

    Advertising plays a huge part too… and it doesn’t help that they’re extremely targeted. For example, this weekend I was visiting a friend, and she mentioned that her mom’s hot water tank had broken over the weekend… now I hadn’t searched up anything related to this, but a few hours later I had an ad for new hot water tanks…. SCARY.

    I think being self-aware about it is a huge factor that helps. I frequently check if a post is “sponsored” and if so, I almost immediately turn away from that product.

    Comparison and negative feelings are so prevalent with the rise in consumerism. Especially with the increase in “fast fashion” these days, it makes it so hard to keep up.

    Thanks for the read!

    • One of my goals for 2020 is a no-buy on clothing and makeup because I am SO susceptible to online advertising and it really doesn’t take much to convince me to buy something haha. Even though I am a makeup artist, I don’t need this much makeup….makes me cringe to think about the amount of money I’ve spent on makeup I saw online…..:(
      Yes, it seems like they’re listening now AND IT’S SCARY!

      • Ah a no-buy is a great idea! I’m the same way… it’s so easy to get me to buy things! Just tell me it’s on sale and it’s sold! LOL.

        I can relate.. I have so much makeup as well. While not the greatest solution – I subscribed to a subscription box (boxycharm) to get makeup. It’s about $30 a month, and you get 5 full-size products, but it allows me to try new products I normally wouldn’t have bought for myself at a more discounted price, so I’ve noticed I spend a lot less money on makeup in general now that I have this box. It helps curb my desire to be constantly buying new things.

      • I have so much makeup in my own personal collection as well as my kit; I need to use what I own haha but a subscription box is a great idea, maybe when my no-buy is over I will look into it!

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