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The Psychology of Status Purchases: Why We Buy

Hyper sharing culture and inherent human needs fuel our chase for status.

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Have you ever bought something just to show off on social? Although you might not have, studies find that 39 percent of millennials spend money they don’t have to keep up with their friends. This is just one of the things we do to chase “status.” The big question is what exactly is status?

Status is something that humans naturally chase. We’ve been doing it for years and it’s defined by many things depending on the different communities you belong to. For example, a person owning the newest iPhone may be an indication of status in one neighborhood, but a different neighborhood may value something completely different. Status has been defined by many different things like level of skill, amount of land owned and even number of awards won in your particular subject area.

he need for this dates back to primitive times. Our ancestors found that those with higher status and thus, more respect, had more protection, better options for food and many other things needed to survive. We don’t live in a society where status always determines our most basic needs, but it’s a need that’s now been put center stage thanks to the rise of social media.

Unfortunately, studies have found that many people are going to the extreme to attain status. One study found that millennials are willing to spend an average of $137 on something they can show off on Instagram. In addition to spending more, we also tend to change our behavior, beliefs and even our diets! Another study found that people who feel low on the status spectrum have been shown to eat more meat because of meat’s association with strength, power and status. The extreme chase for status can negatively affect us and our loved ones if we don’t become aware of it and find different ways to satisfy these needs.

Check out this infographic below from Lexington Law to learn more about the psychology of status purchases and how chasing status affects and influences us.

They recommend that we change our surroundings and reframe the way we think about it  in order to seek status the smart way. Overall, we should all redefine what “status” means and identify doable and healthy steps we can take to fulfill our needs.

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