Victorian consumers basking in the ‘contrast effect’ of relief in the wake of threatened catastrophe are driving a renewed spending burst in which footwear sales take the lead, according to retail figures released last week.
As reported in Fairfax media outlets, while overall spending climbed only 2.8 per cent in Victoria over the past year, spending in discretionary and luxury items such as shoes experienced a boom, with consumers parting with 26 per cent more cash on footwear than the previous corresponding period.
Bob Cummins, psychology professor at Deakin University and editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies, reportedly said consumers were experiencing a ‘contrast effect’ following patterns of ‘thinking catastrophically’ in 2008, with plummeting shares and superannuation putting a blight on consumer confidence.
“What is happening now is an enormous sense of relief – the economy is coming back, shares are no longer losing ground, and we are realising our financial fundamentals are not lost after all.”
“We are not buying shoes and the like because we are actually richer, but because of the contrast between how we did feel and how we feel now – the sense of relief.”