Are you 'revenge shopping' to relieve pandemic stress? 7 On Your Side has tips

NEW YORK (WABC) -- We all need retail therapy, and a splurge may seem like just what the doctor ordered after a year of lockdown.

As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, consumers are starting to feel more comfortable spending -- but specifically on items they feel they were robbed of last year due to the pandemic.

It's a phenomenon knows as "revenge shopping."

"Because it's so evocative of how everyone is feeling right now," Rakuten Rewards president Kristen Gall said. "We've been in our joggers, we've been in our sweats, we're all very frustrated. We see a light at the end of the tunnel, and effectively, everyone wants to buy the things that they were unable to buy and do the things that they were unable to do."

According to Rakuten, which gives shoppers cash back rewards for what they spend, overall spending is up 30% compared to March of last year.

As a result, revenge shopping is all the rage.

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The biggest drivers include travel, which is up 80% year over year, tickets to concerts and live events up 50%, and we're ordering more toys and games this year, up 50%.

Travel bookings have been mostly car rentals and lodging, and air travel continues to be soft as many are still skittish about flying. But some families are indulging in big bucket list trips to exotic locations to be alone together.

Apparel and fashion is also coming back in a big way. Prada, famous for high end bags and clothes, reported a boost in 2021 digital online sales. It's great news for the Milan based company, a city hit hard early by COVID.

We are also indulging the kids, according to Rakuten's tracking of rewards. We are dishing out double what we did on gaming and learning toys last year.

"In a world where you've had a bit of a forced savings account, a lot of people who have been working from home haven't splurged on a lot of things," Gall said. "Bringing joy to our kids and continuing to buy toys and games and engaging them is still really important, and we are seeing that in the numbers."

We are also continuing to invest in home fitness. Peloton, Mirror and home gym equipment sales surged during COVID and aren't showing any signs of slowing down yet.

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Here are some of of the biggest Revenge Shopping items:
--Tickets: Concerts, sporting events, or experiences like Immersive Van Gogh. Stores/brands include Ticketnetwork.com, StubHub, TicketLiquidator, TicketSmarter.
--Toys and games: Children's learning and discovery toys, video games, and gaming accessories. Stores/brands include LEGO, KiwiCo, GameStop, GameFly.
--Apparel and fashion: Day dresses, silk pajamas, outerwear, and diamond jewelry. Stores/brands include Bloomingdale's, JCPenney, Topman, True Religion, DIESEL, Oscar de la Renta.

The big takeaways for revenge shopping are:
--Set limits: Before you start, set limits for yourself and resist the urge to shop all at once to prevent overspending. Make a budget and keep to it.

--Book sooner rather than later: If you plan on splurging on a trip or vacation, book now to take advantage of free cancellations or fully refundable promotions. As more people start to book travel, the demand will increase prices and you'll see smaller deals.

--Shop smart: Shop smarter by using browser extensions to save and automatically apply cash back deals and coupons when shopping online.

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