Characteristics of online compulsive buying in Parisian students (2014)

Addict Behav. 2014 Aug 6;39(12):1827-1830. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.07.028.

Duroy D1, Gorse P2, Lejoyeux M2.



Online compulsive buying is a little-studied behavioral disorder.


To better understand its clinical aspects by focusing on (i) prevalence rate, (ii) correlation with other addictions, (iii) influence of means of access, (iv) motivations to shop to the internet and (v) financial and time-consuming consequences.


Cross-sectional study.


200 students in two different centers of Paris Diderot University – Paris VII.


Brief self-questionnaires, to screen online compulsive buying, internet addiction, alcohol and tobacco use disorders, to rate frequency of online purchase by private-sale websites, by advertising banners, by mobile phone or to avoid stores, to rate motivations like “more discreet”, “lonelier”, “larger variety of products”, “more immediate positive feelings”, and “cheaper” and to assess the largest amount of online purchasing and the average proportion of monthly earnings, and time spent, both day and night.


Prevalence of online compulsive buying was 16.0%, while prevalence of internet addiction was 26.0%. We found no significant relationship with cyberdependence, alcohol or tobacco use disorders. Online compulsive buyers accessed more often shopping online by private-sale websites (56.2% vs 30.5%, p<0.0001) or by mobile phone (22.5% vs 7.9%, p=0.005) and preferred online shopping because of exhaustive offer (p<0.0001) and immediate positive feelings (p<0.0001). Online compulsive buyers spent significantly more money and more time in online shopping.


Online compulsive buying seems to be a distinctive behavioral disorder with specific factors of loss of control and motivations, and overall financial and time-consuming impacts. More research is needed to better characterize it.