We’ve changed the way we go shopping. In just a decade online shopping – buying goods on the Internet – has gone from being virtually non-existent to become worth billions of pounds each year. Books, CDs, clothes, electronics, we go shopping online for them all, without ever leaving our living rooms.

Where we used to go into town or to a regional shopping centre, now we stay at home and surf the Internet. The widespread adoption of home computers and high speed broadband connections, as well as the number of retailers offering goods online has created a kind of shopping revolution.

These days we take shopping online for granted, an adoption that’s happened remarkably quickly. We can even order groceries online with delivery the next day – if needs be we don’t need to set foot out of our homes!
Why Has Online Shopping Become So Popular?

Online shopping offers immense choice. Retailers with bricks-and-mortar premises are limited in the amount of goods they can show or even keep in their inventories. That’s perfectly understandable, since both represent a significant investment of capital. Internet retailers have no such constraints. They simply have to show pictures and offer descriptions of the entire range, making things much better for consumers.

Where those shopping in retail parks might have to wait for certain items (such as sofas) for up to two months, generally online shopping offers a swift dispatch of goods, eliminating that waiting time – after all, once we’ve spent our money, we don’t want to wait.

Online shopping offers so many advantages for consumers. It’s easy – retailers deliberately make their web sites simple to navigate and use – and with a credit card the world is your oyster. The choice can seem almost infinite, and we’re no longer restricted to just buying locally or through mail order catalogues. We don’t need to bother with opening hours, pushy sales staff, parking, traffic and the hundred other problems that accompany any shopping trip. The process can take as long as you like – or be over in a matter of minutes. You can buy from anywhere in the world. It seems like a Golden Age of shopping.

Consumers certainly believe so, as the e-commerce market has boomed to ridiculous levels. Even credit crunches can’t seem to dim the appetite for online shopping.
The Future for Online Shopping
In 2006 the European e-commerce market was worth £66 billion. By 2011 that’s forecast to reach over £200 billion, a massive increase – This has doubled as at 2016 with Britain the biggest market of online shoppers on the continent.

No matter the economic climate, the forecast is that the amount spent shopping online will keep increasing year by year. However, as there’s only a finite amount of money to be spent, if online spending increases, then spending elsewhere has to decrease, and those high street retailers, whether chains or independently owned shops will be the casualties – it’s worth noting that most big retailers now also sell through web sites.

Of course, online shopping won’t ever completely eliminate its physical counterpart. There are still areas where we prefer to go into a shop and select items – they’re part of any community, from newsagents to supermarkets. But there’s no going back, and online shopping will become an even more central part of our lives, growing more sophisticated with each passing year.

For over a decade all the talk in business has been about globalization. Big companies are now worldwide, and brands like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Disney are recognized in almost every country, for better or worse.

But it’s the Internet and the online world that’s the true face of globalization. The online marketplace really is global. With a credit card you can buy almost anything from anywhere in the world. The Internet literally offers a whole new world of shopping.

What’s on Offer on the Internet

Have you been trying to obtain a CD or book that’s not published in this country? Perhaps a Japanese dress you’ve seen in a magazine? All you need to do is go online and you can find it with a simple search.

The Internet has created a shopping revolution. On a global level, e-commerce, as it’s known, is massive business, and some online companies have become massive retailers, such as Amazon, which began as a book retailer in the mid-1990s and now sells almost everything, a giant in the online marketplace, with sites for several different countries.

It’s actually an exciting time to be a shopper. If you’re careful, using the Internet means you can make your money stretch further, and find items that are different, even unique.

The Downside of The Internet As A Global Marketplace

For consumers, Internet shopping is like being a kid in a sweet shop. We’re spoilt for choice, able to purchase goods from anywhere in the world – and the online marketplace is geared to sell on a global scale.
For retailers, however, it’s a different matter. People only have so much money to spend, so they’re all chasing a finite amount of currency. That means a lot of competition, and the losers for several years have been bricks-and-mortar retailers. Although we’ll still pick them for some things – groceries, for instance, and furniture – in many instances we turn to the Internet.

Internet retailers have a number of advantages over their High Street counterparts. They can show everything, whereas others are constrained by space and inventory. Often they don’t have inventory problems, as they don’t hold the goods themselves, but channel the orders to wholesalers and manufacturers. All of this is squeezing retailers, and forcing many out of business. Those who have shops around the country also offer online shopping, recognizing the power of the online marketplace to reach those who can’t come to their stores.

But where we’d once have pumped money into our local economies, rarely leaving out hometowns to buy things, now that cash flows globally, much of it overseas, which can have an adverse effect on the British economy as it affects the import-export balance of trade.

Internet shopping certainly offers lots of advantages for consumers – you can compare prices for everywhere, you don’t need to spend money on petrol, parking, and have to deal with traffic. It might not always be cheaper, but the convenience and the choice can cancel out cost. Instead of sometimes waiting weeks for something to be in stock again at a physical retailer, goods are dispatched promptly.

What the Global Marketplace Has Done

The Internet ties us all together in a way that was unimaginable a generation ago. We correspond with people from all over and think nothing of a shopping trip to Hong Kong, China or America without even leaving our living rooms. We’ve become sophisticated shoppers. But what the local effects of our new habits will be, remains to be fully seen.

Everyone loves a bargain, and we’re all looking to find things on the cheap. It’s human nature not to want to spend more money than we have to. Thanks to the Internet, finding bargains is easier than ever before. The boom in online shopping has made it easier than ever to find bargains – no matter where in the world they might be.