I would like to start this topic with an official definition of consumerism.
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts. It is a term used to describe the effects of equating personal happiness with purchasing material possessions and consumption (spořeba). Consumerism means purchasing goods or consuming materials in excess of their basic needs. Is as old as the first civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt, Babylon or Ancient Rome. Consumerism is not a new phenomenon although has become widespread over the 20th century and in recent decades, under the influence of neoliberal capitalism and globalization.
Since consumerism began, various individuals and groups have consciously sought an alternative lifestyle through simple living.
Consumerism is commonly associated with capitalism and the Western world, it is multi-cultural and non-geographical, as seen today in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tel Aviv or Dubai, for example.
In many critical contexts, consumerism is used to describe the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand names and status- enhancing appeal, such as expensive cars, rich jewellery and other luxury goods. Our society can be referred to as a consumer culture.
Oponents of consumerism argue that many luxuries and unnecessary products are social signals that allow people to identify like-minded individuals through consumption.
Anti-consumerists believe that a modern consumer society is created through extensive advertising and media influence. They tend to believe that consumerism is an artificial creation sustained by artificial social pressures, while libertarians tend to believe that consumerism is natural and the only way to eliminate it is through artificial social pressures.
Shopaholism (also known as shopping addiction or oniomania) is the compulsive desire to shop and purchase.
The purchase generates a mood of satisfaction for the addicted, seems to give their life a meaning and lets them forget about their sorrows and every day troubles. Usually back at home shopaholics regret their purchase. To compensate that, the addicted person goes shopping again. They hide or destroy the goods they buy because the person concerned feels ashamed of their addiction and tries to conceal it. The addicted person gets into a vicious circle.
Without professional help (psychotherapy) this disorder can persist a whole life. Sometimes the shopaholism ends with the financial ruin.
The reasons are various: fears, depressions, emotional emptiness or low self-esteem. Other problems are problems in the family, worries for their job or loneliness is repressed by buying something.
The consequences can persist over years or even decades and are devastating. It impends over-indebtedness, theft or defalcation of money and the financial ruin.
Commercial advertising media consists of wall paintings, billboards, street furniture components, printed flyers and rack cards, radio, cinema and television ads, web banners, web pop-ups, skywriting, magazines, newspapers, passenger screens, posters or other types of promotion.
The main aim of the advertisements is to make people think about the advertised product and do the best to get people interested in it.
Any place an “identified” sponsor pays to deliver their message through a medium is advertising.
Covert advertising is a new type of advertising known as product placement. We can find this type of promotion in movies for example, where the character or protagonist owns clothes, phone or car with visibly printed and shown logo or name of the brand.
Television commercials are generally considered as the most effective mass-market advertising format and this is reflected by the high prices that TV networks charge for commercial airtime during popular TV events.
Advertising on the World Wide Web is a recent phenomenon as well as e-mail advertising. Usually we get spams (= unsolicited bulk e- mail).
I am definitely a part of consumer society but I think is typical for our cultural and lifestyle. I don´t like the fact that the number of shopping centres is increasing rapidly although build new ones is not necessary.
Although many people claim that shopping centres make our lives easier, I would say that they make our days more stressful and they make us spending more and more money on unnecessary items and products.