Online shopping
Young people are experiencing regret when making orders from Shein and TikTok Shop as the thrill of online shopping soon wares out. cottonbro studio/Pexels

Today's youth have developed a habit of purchasing clothing items through fast fashion sites online, but their enthusiasm over their purchases is rarely lasting.

The trend involves young people scrolling through Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein or TikTok Shop and regularly making big orders. The incentive to shop on fast fashion sites is attributed to the quick turnaround customers endure from ordering to receiving the items, plus the cheap costs of the clothes.

What makes these young shoppers addicted to frequent purchases on Shein and TikTok Shop is the thrill of blackout shopping rather than an item of clothing itself. The rush of excitement which young people get from ordering and waiting for the delivery is something many of them wish to experience over and over.

However, the drawback to blackout shopping is that people end up buying items they likely have no real need for. As the joy young shoppers get from quick online shopping outweighs this need, they feel regretful once their items arrive.

Marketing professor at Bryant University Sharmin Attaran mentioned to Business Insider that this is often the moment "many young shoppers start feeling a pang of buyer's remorse."

Ultimately, the hit of dopamine experienced from blackout shopping is enough to leave plenty of youngsters with unhealthy spending habits. Financial mismanagement is deemed an issue with Gen Z as they are amassing credit card debt and missing payments faster than other generations.

TikTok user Maddy Lane is one of many young shoppers who documented her regretful experience. A video she posted on the platform showed her expressing annoyance as she laid out all the purchased Shein items on her bed. Describing her reaction, she captioned the post: "The ten-minute Shein high is over".

Lane's post attracted many users to relate to her experience, with one person commenting under the post: "This is EXACTLY how my bed looks after receiving my Shein package." Another wrote: "Every single time I've ever bought from Shein, I've been so excited and then just hit with INSTANT regret when I see all the items in person."

Like many other young shoppers, Lane purchased clothes the wrong size or something she did not truly like because of the exhilaration of blackout shopping.

A survey from 2022 by online thrift retailer ThredUp revealed that a third of nearly 2000 college students are addicted to fast fashion. Also, 45 per cent admitted it is difficult to resist fast fashion sites, whilst 35 per cent admitted to overspending money and time on them.

There appears to be no slowing down with the trend, as a survey with 1000 respondents from earlier this year by Quantum Metric revealed that 64 per cent of younger individuals are blackout shopping more now than last year.

The fixation young people have developed for fast fashion may go against some of their beliefs regarding sustainability. The appeal of fast fashion is how quick the turnaround is from ordering to receiving items, but that does come at a cost in the process.

To maintain fast fashion, many resources, including water, raw materials and energy, are needed to produce the fabrics and fibres used to make clothing items. Standard clothing fibres such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are not deemed sustainable due to the large amount of energy needed to produce them.

With the fast fashion demand not stopping, carbon emissions and greenhouse gases will be released frequently.