When the Going Gets Tough, Americans Go Shopping

"Have a bad day," may be the unspoken mantra of online retailers. More than half of Americans (51.8 percent) shop and spend money to improve their mood, and more than half of them admit they prefer to get their "retail therapy" fix online, according to a new survey.

What triggers people to get this retail-therapy fix? You can blame the usual suspects — having a tough day at the office, receiving bad news or getting into an argument.

Nearly one-fifth (18.9 percent) of Americans engage in retail therapy to improve their mood after a tough day at work, followed by 14.6 percent who shop after receiving bad news and 12.2 percent who bought something after having a fight with a significant other, found a national survey sponsored by Ebates.com, on online shopping website.

The survey of 1,000 adults found that women are much more likely than men to shop and spend money to improve their mood (63.9 percent vs. 39.2 percent), the survey found. The No. 1 item women buy when engaging in retail therapy is clothes (57.9 percent); for men, the top mood-elevator purchase is food.

Food (34.7 percent) ranked second on the list of what women buy in an effort to improve their mood, followed by shoes (32.4 percent), accessories (29.1 percent) and books/magazines (28.7 percent). Electronics came in second among men, followed by music/movies, clothes and games/toys.

Getting a deal is the ultimate remedy, making as many as 80.7 percent of Americans feel best after getting a retail shopping bargain. Of that percentage, shopping during a sale is the most popular (61.8 percent), followed by receiving a reward  such as cash back or gift card (49 percent).

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (66.6 percent) think online shopping provides better shopping than physical shopping, the survey also found. The reasons for this preference included convenience and privacy.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.Follow us @BNDarticlesFacebook or Google +.