We buy because we want more time, better health, more self-confidence, improved appearance, more leisure or comfort, or what we perceive as a better life. We also buy to avoid taking risks, losing money, leaving ourselves vulnerable to threats, potential suffering, embarrassment or worry. We think our purchases will keep us up-to-date, make us likable or influential, or help us better express ourselves.
Each product meets a real need (if you’re ethical). But it also meets an emotional need. Cars are used to travel and their features can improve safety or fuel-efficiency. But your car also expresses your social status or makes you feel cool. Organic food does help mitigate our impact on the environment, but it also combats anxiety about potentially harmful chemicals. Mobile gadgets help you stay more connected and communicate better with your friends, but they also help you feel more futuristic. There is almost always an emotional component to even the most practical products we buy.