Friday, June 21, 2024

Do you regret that last purchase via social media? You’re certainly not alone.

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That love-hate relationship with social media extends to purchases, too.

In a new study by Wallethub, nearly three in four people have made an “unnecessary purchase” via social media. Two out of three Americans believe social media is encouraging overspending. And nearly 1 in 5 of those surveyed about their social media purchases categorized them as scams.

“Social media is such a key component to most people’s lives nowadays and it’s become such a powerhouse as far as online shopping and advertising goes,” Cassandra Happe, a Wallethub analyst told USA TODAY.

“We wanted to get a sense of how consumers are handling social media shopping and what their views are as far as whether it’s a worthwhile platform to use for shopping and if it’s really beneficial as far as how it impacts their finances,” she said, in explaining the study.

Here are some other findings from the survey:

  • 46% of people said social media is a bad influence on their debt.
  • Social media made 36% of the respondents say it made them feel frustrated about their own finances.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 Americans are trying to falsely present a good financial image online when that’s not real.
  • 63% of people said they regretted a purchase they’ve made via social media.
  • 36% of respondents said they’d spend less if they deleted their social-media apps.

The survey did not specifically ask consumers whether they were influenced in their purchases by their friends or posts they’ve seen from influencers, but Happe said 43% of respondents said they viewed a celebrity recommendation via social media as bad.

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“People of any age and background are susceptible to getting caught up in social media consumerism, so it’s important to ask yourself whether you really need a given item you see on social media,” Happe said in a press release. “Sleeping on a purchase before completing it is a wise move as well.”

Betty Lin-Fisher is a consumer reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at blinfisher@USATODAY.com or follow her on X, Facebook or Instagram @blinfisher. Sign up for our free The Daily Money newsletter, which will include consumer news on Fridays,
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