The Rise in Online Shopping

Carly Woodfield, Staff Writer

During this past year COVID-19 has caused malls and other unessential shopping centers to close. Due to this there has been a large shift towards curbside pickup and online shopping. Online shopping has been becoming popular over the years but since the pandemic there has been a substantial increase in online shopping orders. This has been great for businesses to maintain business during the pandemic but there are rising conflicts to come with online shopping such as shopping addictions and waste from packaging. Nevertheless, people enjoy online shopping despite its drawbacks.

To begin, COVID-19 has caused many people to be staying at home more with less to do and a lot of time on hand. Some people do not even leave their houses; thus online shopping has become a fun pastime for many adults and teens. So just about how much time are people spending browsing for items and buying them? History teacher Kelly McCarville admits to browsing online shopping “every day.” This is often what companies love to hear from their consumers because it tells just how intriguing shopping is at the convenience of their own home! For some, online shopping does not stop at just once a day. Sophomore Molly Sheppard confesses: “I browse online shopping a couple times a day.” 

Although people shopping online so much seems like a good thing for businesses, online shopping can be a problem. Many people are addicted to shopping, and when shopping can be accessible to people 24/7, from anywhere in the world, this can raise issues for shopaholics. In a small survey people were asked if they felt that online shopping is addictive, six of six people answered yes. According to The Recovery Village, on a larger scale, the number of people with an online shopping addiction is “about 5-8%.”Shopping addictions are one of the most down played addictions even though it can really play a big role in some people’s lives and can begin to consume them just as other addictions do. 

Online shopping has other downsides besides the fact that it can lead to addiction. What do people not like about online shopping? Junior Haley Goode says, “Sizes can be weird, and colors are different than expected.” This is a struggle with online shopping; often when buying clothes online, pictures just do not do justice to what the item will look like in real life and not be up to your standard when it arrives. Adding to this, McCarville remarks she does not like “not being able to physically see things.” Physically being unable to see items is a downside to online shopping many people would agree with. Physically seeing what you are hoping to buy can be a deal maker or breaker. Finally, senior Katherine Dawson states that she does not like that she “can’t try stuff on.” The fact of the matter is when purchasing online items it can be hard to tell if the item is good quality, the exact color you want, or the correct size. The overall disadvantage to online shopping is not knowing what you are really getting. 

Ongoing there are many things people enjoy about online shopping.  Goode expresses she likes online shopping because “it’s comforting and fun.” Dawson, in agreement, says, “I like that it is convenient and I don’t have to get ready.” Convenience is one main reason why online shopping has become so popular and enjoyable for many people. Dawson also says, “I enjoy online shopping more now than in person.” This just further demonstrates that online shopping is good as people can have the option to choose whether they go into stores to shop vs. online. According to a study from Optinmonster, “67% of users admit to window shopping for fun on their smartphones”. That is a lot of people consistently shopping which then leads to spontaneous purchases. This is evidenced in the previous study as “77% of these digital window shoppers make impulse purchases.” This proves to say that shopping online is a fun activity which many people are addicted to. On the other hand, freshman Tiara Aguilar, Goode, and McCarville still prefer the in-person shopping option. 

What and where are the most common items bought through online shopping? Amazon, not surprisingly, is the most popular place for online shopping. During the pandemic, according to Columns, Amazon has reported hiring “175,000 people in recent months and saw demand for its services soar. The company said revenue jumped 40% from a year earlier to $88.9 billion”. This highlights how an already popular online company has grown because of the pandemic. Sheppard remarks, “I shop on Amazon a couple times a month.” Every Amazon shopper is contributing to their large growth over the pandemic. One type of online purchase that has also benefited in the pandemic is its grocery sales: “Online grocery sales tripled year over year” according to an article in Columns. This exponential growth in online groceries has been seen widely in many stores. Another store benefiting from online orders, according to CNN, is “Ikea, which is best known for its cavernous big box stores, reported a 45% increase in online sales over the 12 months to August.” This further exhibits how online shopping has grown and been impacted since the pandemic. 

In closing, online shopping since the pandemic has grown dramatically and many people are contributing in the growth of these online-only companies. Overall, online shopping has its perks yet it still has its inconveniences. Online shopping will continue growing for years to come, that is why some malls have had to close due to the popularity in online shopping. The future of online shopping is very bright and continuously growing.