Nothing drives spending like narcissism
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Signal
May 14, 2015
Nothing drives spending like narcissism

It doesn’t matter what income you’re on, everyone spends in the struggle for status. From make-up to man-bags, protein shakes to plastic surgery, jewellery to private jets – we all splash cash in the name of vanity. And new research shows that these purchases could be worth as much as $4.5 trillion.

This finding comes from a report titled ‘Vanity Capital: the global bull market in narcissism’, which was released by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It describes ‘vanity capital’ as “the pursuit of, and the accumulation of, attributes and accessories to augment self-confidence by enhancing one’s appearance and prestige.” While it’s up for debate as to whether this kind of spending can be measured accurately, it brings some intriguing data to light. While western Europe spends the most on vanity-driven purchases – around $748 billion – China boasts the fastest growth in the last five years. And across the board, spending driven by vanity exceeds all other spending.