Although much research focuses on the compulsive buying behavior theory, little attention has been paid to evaluation and diagnosis of compulsive buying in Eastern Europe. This is surprising, given an increasing prevalence of consumerism in many transitioning economies. Young consumers are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to adapt the Richmond Compulsive Buying Scale to the Eastern European, specifically Polish cultural and language environment, and to validate it within a group of young Polish consumers, as well to assess the compulsive buying prevalence and the relationship between the compulsive buying and its precursors.
The Richmond Compulsive Buying Scale was selected for adaptation to the Polish context as it represents one of the best methodological and substantive compulsive buying measures in literature. The research is composed of two studies. Study 1 uses an in-person survey of young consumers (N = 504). A wide range of statistical procedures and latent variable modeling was used in the analysis. Study 2 (N = 756) uses an online survey to evaluate the correlation and relationship between the compulsive buying measure and its precursors, including consumers’ traits and states, by implementing a multiple indicators and multiple causes model.
The results of the two studies confirm that the adapted scale represents a valid and reliable measure of compulsive buying tendency in Poland, with the identified incidence rate of compulsive buying among Polish young consumers ranging from 11% in Study 1 to 11.6% in Study 2. In comparison with the results of other studies using the same measure, the current research findings reveal a similarity with the compulsive buying prevalence in China (10.4%; He et al., 2018), Brazil (9.8%; Leite et al., 2013) and slightly exceed the level found in western societies (e.g. 8.9% in the USA; Ridgway et al., 2008). The results of Study 2 indicate that compulsive buying in Poland is induced by low self-esteem and high levels of materialism, depression, anxiety, stress and negative feelings.
The present research offers a methodological and substantive contribution by adapting and testing the original version of the Richmond Compulsive Buying Scale within an Eastern European transitional market; specifically Poland. In addition, the study offers an empirical contribution to the international research on compulsive behavior, including its precursors, as seen in young consumers.
This research offers important public policy implications and highlights ethical implications for business organizations. In particular, the findings of this study offer suggestions for enhancing policies and processes of programing appropriate social and educational campaigns that can save young consumers from the negative consequences of compulsive buying.
The transitional status of the Polish economy and other Eastern European countries has given rise to compulsive buying behavior, especially among young consumers. This emerging consumer behavior trend in Eastern Europe is still underexplored and underreported; hence, there exists a strong need for exploring and measuring such behavior across different Eastern European markets.