The experience of shopping has been changing quite rapidly for a long time now. From years of austerity following the world war 2 to the surplus of goods since the internet explosion in the 2000s, the face of shopping is ever-evolving. Shopping has far exceeded the boundaries of necessity and has become more of a hobby to most. Today, people shop from the comfort of their homes instead of searching through numerous stores and vendors. Most readily embrace this change while a few still prefer traditional shopping. Regardless, it is a common consensus that shopping habits today are drastically different than those of two decades ago.
The growth in popularity of the internet is a significant contributor to changing shopping habits. People shop more than they used to in general and only a bare minimum visit stores for products related to technology, clothing, or accessories. This isn’t surprising in the least as it is obvious that people would choose the most convenient alternative and the prevalence of online shopping gives just that. The only viable reason people would actually choose traditional shopping over online is if they’re accustomed to it. This explains why more than 67 percent shop through online portals while only 23 percent of old adults use them.
The methods of advertising retail products have changed quite a lot too. While twenty years ago producers had to put up posters and commercials on TV and radios, today the internet has given a platform to reach more by doing less. For consumers, it means that they no longer have to rely on peer recommendations for a product, they can simply read reviews on the internet. Easier dissemination of information has prompted motivation in a higher number of producers creating more variety in retail goods.
With more variety and resulting choices, customers’ expectations have also grown. Loyalty to a particular brand is hardly feasible as there are hundreds of competitors for virtually any products and people have the ability to browse through them from only their computers. This has had a positive impact since it compels producers to make products of better quality and with lower price tags.
Moving onto the more physical spectrum, street vendors and shops have evolved into malls and supermarkets. Shoppers find every kind of products neatly organized in a single building. For people who don’t want anything, they can just window shop i.e. look through products for entertainment. In the past, people shuffled through shops oftentimes not comparing products to one another to avoid more hassle. However, since now the shopping experience more orderly in supermarkets and malls, traditional shoppers also find themselves comparing products more than ever before.
REVIEWS AND OPINIONS
Opinions also matter a lot more now than they did in the past. Social media are full of opinions about a product and the influence of celebrities while choosing brands is also extremely high since everyone with access to the internet can now know what their favorite celebrity personally prefers. This can have, to some extent, a negative impact too as someone else’s negative opinion about a product can ruin the product’s reputation despite its quality. Consumers are prone to be manipulated by rival companies of a product that may be better for the consumer.
Perhaps the most notable and concerning change in shopping habits, however, is the way people have perceived it over time. Nowadays, most people shop as a hobby, not a necessity. When controlled, this can be a good thing as people derive happiness from getting what they don’t need. But if overdone this can lead to over-expenditure of money and eventual lack of it during an actual crisis. This will also result in a feeling of deprivation in the people that cannot afford to shop as much.
That said, changes in shopping over the years have generally been for the better. It has increased convenience for consumers and forced producers into delivering goods of better quality. Shopping is easier than ever and simultaneously, an overall better experience too.