Research from retail experts Conchango today revealed that shopping is officially bad for relationships. A survey of 1,890 people in the UK showed that more than one in three people in the UK argue with their partner when they visit the high street.

According to the research, huge queues and slow sales staff are the main reasons for the angst that leads to arguments. 65% of the people survey feel ‘stressed out’ when they go shopping and this then leads into rows and bickering.

Charlotte Harper, MD of International is not surprised by the results and believes that high street shopping is an unhealthy pastime for couples: “Shopping trips are a stressful experience and because us Brits are too polite to confront the slow cashier or other shoppers who annoy us, we take out our frustrations on the poor unsuspecting partners who accompany us. Couples free time together is better spent on chores that are less stressful such as gardening or cooking a meal together”

“High street shopping can be such an unpleasant event, it’s not surprising that couples take the stress of the experience out on each other” says Mike Altendorf of Conchango. “As a result, shopping is no longer a pastime that couples wish to share. This is reflected in recent retail sales figures. The bank holiday was once a time for couples to hit to stores together but this Easter high street sales were slow. For retailers to entice couples back through the doors they need to start making the experience conducive to happy families.”

Key findings

71% of respondents see shopping as a vital and necessary part of their lives

Half of the people surveyed don’t have time for recreational shopping during the week

39% feel that high street shops’ opening hours don’t cater for their needs

45% try to squeeze shopping into their lunch breaks and after work. Of these consumers 27% feel that this isn’t enough time

67% do not have enough time/energy to shop in their spare time

35% resent having to shop on the weekends

59% choose to shop online because high street shops aren’t open at convenient times

61% feel stressed out when shopping on the high street

Factors that stress consumers out most about the high street:
Shops don’t open late enough (9%)
Sales staff are too slow (15%)
Changing rooms aren’t great (4%)
Huge queues (52%)
Going with a partner (7%)
Other (13%)

35% of couples argue when out shopping.


The survey was carried out online by 72 Point. 1892 participants across the UK took part.

For further information or a copy of the full report please contact or telephone 0207 261 4484

Published on: 12:00AM on 11th May 2006