Online shopping has taken the world by storm, and here I’m going to delve deeper into the big wide world of online shopping. With a reputation for always being cheaper, I wanted to put this to the test and find out once and for all if it really is cheaper to buy online or not.
In principle, you would think that it would be cheaper right? There are no bricks and mortar to pay for and other costs associated with having a store presence, and I’ve heard it being said that online shopping is the bane of most stores livelihoods, as customers whip out their mobile devices to check prices while they’re in store! I have to admit that I can be guilty of that too. Of course that’s only if you happen to find me in a store, which is a rare occurrence.
Being a huge fan of internet shopping, I’m always out to bag a bargain, and quite frankly to stay away from the shops, one of my biggest pet peeves. The people, the queues, finding parking – nope not for me. I am shall we say, a touch addicted to online shopping, probably due to my intense dislike of malls, but more than that, the range of products that I find, are far greater than what I can find in my local store. I bought so much for my child online that even the delivery guy knew me by name. Our neighbours probably wondered what in the world was going on with the constant knocking on our door, seeing the same man on a weekly basis! So, that’s me and my little addiction but what do the stats say?
What’s happening in the world of online shopping?
Online shopping has spread like wildfire, with everyone jumping on the boat, ready to bag a bargain, which is hardly surprising. How many emails do you get with updates, specials, coupons and more? Plenty we’re sure. I know I do, and I take advantage of them all the time. There’s always a good deal to be had. Plus, there are some serious benefits to online shopping, and I for sure love some of these:
- You can shop from the comfort of your own home;
- You don’t need to dodge the crazy crowds;
- When it comes to sale time, no searching and searching through the sale racks and toy store aisles only to find that what you want isn’t there;
- No parking hassles;
- You save on fuel;
- Last but not least you’re actually not going to lose your mind, and you’ll be nice and comfortable picking out exactly what you want!
These are some pretty compelling reasons to join the revolution if you haven’t already.
However, there are some drawbacks, which often put people off like the fact that you can’t actually really see a product before you buy it; you have to wait for it and returning the goods can be seen as a hassle, which personally I don’t find…it’s easy and quick. But in the grand scheme of things, are these good enough reasons to abandon internet shopping altogether? Well we guess it’s up to the individual and how they prefer to shop, but I would say a big resounding no.
And when it comes to the stats, there is a steady rise happening the world over.
Internet retail sales have been growing steadily in the last few years and its projected that in 2015 there will be a 10% increase in the US alone.
I took a look at some of the stats that were conducted by Forrester Research, which takes a look at online sales statistics, to get an inside view of what the online sales world is really doing.
E-commerce sales in the US grew by 12.6% in 2010, totaling US$176 billion and this figure is expected to grow to US$279 billion in 2015. That’s quite some increase!
Surprisingly, online sales only make up a small percentage of the retail market. In 2014, online sales made up for only 8% of total sales. This number is supposed to increase to between 9-11% in 2015.
Europe seems to be in the same boat as the US with their e-commerce growing about 10% per year. Europe’s online sales will go from 81 billion Euros in 2010 to 134 billion Euros in 2015.
Amazingly 70% of the population in Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden shop online. These three countries account for the highest percentage in Europe.
In the US, the figures are much higher due to advancing technology, more websites to choose from as well as apps to buy products on. For the US online shopping is the most effective and convenient way to get those products into homes.
From a global perspective, PwC did a survey across 19 countries and there is a very clear rising trend happening worldwide, with consumers flocking to internet shopping. What is clear from the report is that shopping in a retail store used to be a treat, a pleasurable experience, however, now consumers see it as more of a hassle, which is why we are seeing internet shopping rise to the forefront of shopping trends.
What does my Research Say?
I decided to conduct a bit of research of my own amongst the moms and dads I know, to see what they had to say, and how they felt about online shopping. Bearing in mind that parents are busy working, taking care of kids and having to shop on top of that could probably push us over the edge, unless of course you love a bit of retail therapy.
Amongst our sample, online shopping won hands down with every single mom and dad I interviewed saying that it’s the only way they shop, and it’s not just for kids stuff, its groceries, electronics, gifts, kids’ clothes, toys and more. They do everything online and half the time, they’re not really concerned about price. Here is what some of our moms had to say.
“I love online shopping for kids. It’s much less hassle and prices are relatively the same.”
“Love it. Have never been disappointed. Have ordered from all over the world and will continue to do so. The prices are sometimes cheaper, mostly the same, but just way more convenient.”
Lesley-Anne, South Africa
“I find the prices relatively the same, but I do all my bulk shopping online, especially for the kids. I buy a couple of things from the shops, but find online shopping way more convenient.”
“I hate shopping and quite frankly I just don’t have the time. I do everything online and I don’t actually waste any time comparing prices, I pretty much know what the prices are. All my kids’ stuff is bought online, plus everything else!”
“I reckon 80% of everything we buy is done online. It’s not always cheaper but we simply don’t have time to go shopping. Having said that – it’s not cheaper in checkout prices, if it’s ordered online, I don’t have to drive to town to buy whatever it is which saves on petrol and parking. And as I’m self-employed, I can be earning in the time I’d otherwise just be driving around.”
“I use online for so much and it has saved me so much time and energy!!! Particularly when kids go to parties, I use Amazon, with Amazon Prime you get free shipping and it comes in 2 days… so I can even be last minute. I do a lot of online clothes shopping direct from store websites. I often get free shipping and easy return options. Prices are either the same or cheaper. So many stores offer a % discount and free shipping when you buy a certain amount. However I mainly buy kids clothes online when stores are having sales. Prices are cheaper and you don’t have to go through sales racks…”
“I’m a BIG online shopper love it. Kids, household, groceries electronics pretty much anything. Have never been disappointed and it’s just way more convenient both local and international shopping. Convenience is key and time standing in stores buying impulsively and then packing in trolley, packing out at checkout, packing back in trolley, packing out at car then out at home and into cupboards ….even just typing that was laborious. It’s my saving grace. No running around looking for goods or out of sizes. 4 pairs of shoes on a Wednesday morning delivered by Thursday afternoon for my daughter vs. the dreaded malls, lots of trying on and looking for what she likes. Big thumbs up from me. I find it very easy to return stuff. I’d also say that the prices are much the same, sometimes cheaper if you buy in bulk or catch a weekly special, sometimes a bit more, but what I do like is that it’s not mass stuff where you see every child in the same outfit. You’ve got the freedom to choose without the hassle. “
These were just some of the comments I received from my fellow parent online shoppers, and it seems that online shopping wins hands down and price doesn’t seem to be a big factor for us parents, its more about convenience. In a nutshell, it can be much the same as shopping in stores, but there are bargains to be had when you look out for them.
Cheaper or Not Cheaper, That is the Question?
Well I guess it depends on how you see it, but in my opinion, when you look at the overall picture, it is cheaper. I’m a bargain hunter, and I always find a good deal. Saying that though, it isn’t always cheaper, but the convenience for me far outweighs a few dollars that I might save. And when I say a few dollars, I really do mean a few dollars. I would far rather pay a tiny bit extra in some cases, get it in 2 days and avoid the shops…yes there I go with my intense dislike of shops again.
So, why not join the many parents taking advantage of the huge benefits that online shopping brings? You’ll be glad you did.
What do you think? Do you do online shopping or not? Tell us your experiences.