There is a proliferation of compulsive shoppers in Austria, with one out of two 14-to-24 year-olds showing shopaholic tendencies, claim the results of a new study.
The study, carried out on behalf of the Chamber of Labour or AK, showed that 52.7 percent of women and girls aged up to 24 were "oniomaniacs", with the behaviour of 15.1 percent described as serious.
"Young women in particular are very susceptible to fashion and advertising," said the AK's consumer research expert, Karl Kollmann.
Women of all age groups were more prone to shopaholism than men, but the phenomenon was particularly prevalent among single women under 30, even those with low incomes, Kollmann said.
People who were politically active, or who had a partner, or did not shop via the Internet were less prone to developing such a compulsive disorder, the expert found.
Overall, 27 percent of Austrians were compulsive shoppers, down slightly from 30 percent last year, with the improvement attributable to the economic crisis, with people being forced to be more careful with money, Kollmann said.
The AK suggested young people be educated about the dangers of compulsive shopping, such as running up huge debt.
"We have to make it clear to them what it means to buy on credit," said the head of AK's consumer policy department, Gabriele Zgubic.
"Compulsive shopping is frequently overlooked as a problem because it's a way of achieving social status," Zgubic said.