There has been a surge in the growth of online shopping in recent times. In 2020 over two billion people shopped online. This was a huge leap over the statistics of previous years. This article examines this growth and why it is happening. First, consider a little background into where the transition stemmed from, which is in-store shopping.
The mirage of in-store shopping
There was a time, not long ago when seeing was believing. If you need groceries, footwear or clothes, you have to go to a physical outlet to make purchases. If you are a seller, you generate little sales if you don’t have a physical shop. Shoppers lined alleys making purchases, queues had to be maintained by mall management which meant increased staffing, security cameras and all the other things that made shopping supposedly convenient for customers.
It was all a mirage.
In recent times the disadvantages of in-store shopping became clearer:
- Having to physically go to a shop
- The annoying chance the store won’t have what you need to buy
- Meeting salespeople who are mean and uncaring
- Waiting in endless queues
- The exhausting exercise of comparing prices from one shop to the other
It didn’t take long before the world began to realize that business could not go on as usual.
Enter Covid 19.
Following the pandemic there has been a boom worldwide in online shopping. In 2020 alone, 87% of UK internet users shopped online. This is a spike from 78% in 2018. The growth is recorded in Asia and Africa as well.
Why the sudden explosion in online shopping?
There are many reasons, consider a few.
It is more convenient
Customers everywhere are looking for less and less exhausting ways to shop. They are looking for how much more they can achieve with less movement. They have mobile devices and can see the offers made by online stores.
The average shopper will buy online instead of leaving his couch, interrupting his TV show. Besides, these online stores ship almost everywhere.
More competitive prices online
In the wake of the pandemic, many more online shops sprang up, they were popping out of the woodwork. In order to stay in business, prices became competitive.
Shoppers are taking advantage of this. Many items are cheaper online than in physical shops and provide a greater variety.
Access to customer review
Online shopping allows shoppers to see what other customers say about the product right before they make a purchase, which is something that is impossible with in-store shopping.
This factor was enhanced by the pandemic too.
Since shoppers were trapped in their homes on account of the pandemic, they were more relaxed and deliberate about making purchases. Shop owners know this so they encourage prospective buyers to read through reviews too. Reviews don’t only help customers but also business owners by helping increasing sales due to increased trust in their products. Speaking with Ally Michaels from Chastity Belt AU, she noted that through the integration of customer reviews for their products they increased the number of customers buying their belts by over 20%.
No need for commuting to stores
The ability to shop without commuting is one of the biggest reasons for the explosion of online shopping. Of course, the pandemic prevented movement. Yet, the possibility of shopping without having to visit a physical shop was always an attraction that the pandemic only aggravated.
The pandemic forced people to reevaluate how they used their finances. For a time, the future of finances was bleak, to say the least. People sought to cut down on expenses and would quickly explore ways to do so. Online shopping helped to save transportation, money on gas and overall expenses for households.
Will the explosion of online shopping subside?
It is not likely. The convenience of being able to shop from your bed or couch is going to be very difficult to beat.