Most of us love a sale, it’s something that’s been ingrained within us from a young age. Why? because it makes us feel like we’re saving, not spending. If you were to ask one of your friends how much they spent in the January sales, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you straight away but they will know for sure how much they think they’ve saved. 

Sales shopping encourages people to buy things that they wouldn’t normally buy. Sales create competition, a sense of panic and fear of missing out for those last few items, those items only available for a short period of time or those ‘end of season’ items. 

When an item goes on sale, retailers make a big deal out of it meaning that customers believe those items are more valuable than they really are. Most people won’t understand why one pair of shoes is priced at £80 and another priced at £300. Customers do however see price as a measure of quality and as a result, will view the £300 shoes that are now in the sale for £150 to be a much better purchase than the £80 full-priced pair.

The problem is that the majority of companies we purchase from actually mass produce, often on a grand scale, allowing them to buy stock at incredibly low prices. Business expenses are taken into consideration when setting the retail price and those products are then marked up even further to generate a profit. A retailer’s mark up can be anywhere from 50% , even more for designer brands, so when an item is put into the sale, this creates a perceived value and saving in our minds.

As a result, many of us get lured in by a sale, buying items that we would’t normally invest in, items which end up sitting in our wardrobe unworn for years to come or that end up being worn only once. Living more sustainably means understanding the tactics used by retailers to lure you in and asking yourself, ‘if the sale price was the initial price, would I still be as excited?’. If the answer is no, is it really worth buying?