Americans are becoming more and more materialistic as the years go on. The United States is becoming “a nation obsessed with shopping and buying unnecessary products” (Khurram). Before we developed the need to buy the latest trends to fit in with everyone else, it used to be all about who had the nicest house and cars. Now, there are endless amounts of products that we feel the need to buy to keep up with the times. For example, the latest iPhone, clothing items designer bags, to name a few.  This obsession is becoming problematic because the “obsessive accumulation of unnecessary products, along with the hope that buying a Chanel bag will somehow make you happier” (Khurram). We are becoming more materialistic because of the comparison of social status – the idea of whoever has the most nicest products, must be really successful is the problem. Another part of the problem is ad manipulation: “we’re bombarded with ads telling us how a certain car/shoe/phone/soft drink will make us happier, cooler and more fulfilled” (Khurram). With ad manipulation, social status comparison, and filling the need to fit in to be happy, is causing Americans to be more materialistic.

There are many other factors that can possibly be tied to why Americans are becoming more materialistic. One of the noticeable factors is the psychology being “relative deprivation,” the feeling that people get when they compare themselves to others and start to feel that they are worse off. These feelings can often lead to frustration, which can be a reason that people feel the need to impulsively buy certain items. It is also possible that people are “likely to feel a need to spend money they may not have to project an image of wealth they don’t actually possess” (Howell). This can be closely related to the feeling of relative deprivation in the sense that in order to feel better and seem more successful, people buy more items than they really need. And finally, the amount of different economic indicators of wealth, for example, more financial development, can also affect an individual’s materialistic values, impulsive buying tendencies, and behavior involving savings.

The increase in Americans becoming materialistic can be tied to insecurity, more than anything else. A study showed that people who are more materialistic can tend to be the ones who own more unnecessary products. Likewise, people who are ambitious and competitive are also the ones who seem to be more materialistic as well. So, in conclusion, the main reason that Americans are becoming more and more materialistic is because of our need to feel happy and fortunate and our tendency to compare ourselves to other people’s successes.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Psychology Behind Being Materialistic by Kaitlyn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Emmy 2 months ago

    I found this to be a very interesting idea and a concept that definitely rings true in this day and age. So much of status is equated with wealth so it’s no surprise people want to accumulate more items that make them feel ‘important’ at least until they look at their bank statements haha! I’m curious if you yourself live a minimalistic life or if you’re attempting to? If so I think you might enjoy this article:
    https://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism/

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