In a world where luxury purchases are perceived by many as extravagant and unnecessary, consumers are turning to mathematical concepts such as “cost per wear” to rationalize their decisions, especially during times of inflation.
The trend highlights the evolving mindset of consumers as they seek to balance indulgence with fiscal responsibility. The need to justify such purchases also sheds light on the psychological and economic factors that have resulted in increased use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) services.
Justification in the Face of Affordability
Luxury purchases often come with hefty price tags that may be beyond the immediate financial reach of many consumers. At a time when inflation is high, and the prices of goods and services are rising, the allure of luxury is both enticing and intimidating for consumers.
To navigate this dilemma, consumers are using mathematical reasoning to mentally bridge the gap between desire and affordability. Justification becomes a way to alleviate guilt and avoid the perception of extravagance.
Cost per wear, aka “girl math” on TikTok, which has garnered over 64 million views, is a mathematical approach that divides the price of an item by the estimated number of times it will be worn, offering a new perspective on the cost and value of an item over time. The math allows consumers to perceive luxury purchases as more financially justifiable. It also helps them convince themselves they are getting better value for their money.
Psychological and Economic Factors
The act of justifying luxury purchases through math serves both psychological and economic purposes. Psychologically, it provides a sense of control and rationality, giving consumers a sense of empowerment.
Economically, it aligns with the concept of maximizing utility, where consumers strive to derive the most value from their expenditures. This shift in perspective transforms the perception of luxury items from fleeting indulgences to long-term investments.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Influence
The rise of BNPL services has further fueled this trend. While BNPL can be beneficial for consumers seeking flexibility, it also contributes to the normalization of luxury purchases by diluting upfront costs. Consumers may fall into the trap of committing to payments beyond their actual means, lured by the allure of luxury and the illusion of affordability.