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Huge Increase of Compulsive Buying in Generation Y

Nov. 24, 2003

Jim Roberts, associate professor and W.A. Mays Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, has been researching the "affliction" known as compulsive buying for almost a decade. Lately, he has seen an alarming trend. "Only one to three percent of baby boomers and about five percent of Generation Xers can be classified clinically as compulsive buyers," the researcher says. "That compares to an alarming ten percent of Generation Yers. This is a significant increase."

Roberts speculates that the trend correlates to a shift in attitudes toward debt and credit cards. About 80 percent of college age men and women have credit cards, he says, and half of them got credit cards while still in high school.

"The credit card is the 'tool of power'," says Roberts, and is the strongest predictor of compulsive buying.

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