In the post-Christmas and New Year’s haze many people choose to adopt pious resolutions; spend less, eat less, drink less, work out more. Despite this, it seems that British shoppers just cannot resist a deal. Undeterred by a weak pound and economic doubt, the Boxing Day sales reaped in an estimated total of 4.5 billion pounds.
What December’s frenzied crowds show us is that consumers are always on the lookout for new deals and great shopping opportunities. In fact, it was recently estimated that the average British adult will spend at least 2 hours a week hunting for bargains. As part of this, the trend for online shopping is growing year on year. The reasons are clear: aside from the convenience of browsing from your sofa, prices are often slashed as you are able to buy directly from sellers and cut out the middleman and their additional costs.
From the high street to the eMarket
Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay are the well-established heavyweights of ecommerce. As early pioneers in the field of leveraging low cost shopping and instant shipping, they have dominated the field for almost two decades. Indeed, Amazon is currently valued at around 560 billion dollars with this number expected to continue to rise. However, in recent years we have come to see the emergence of more and more independent online shops from individual sellers choosing to set up their own platform.
The ease of establishing an online store is a large part of why we have seen such an explosion in recent years. Quick to jump on the trend, many web hosting companies have found ways to help consumers set up shop while turning a profit for themselves. For instance, 1&1’s ecommerce website package offers easy-to-use template designs with built-in payment systems that require little to no coding knowledge to use. Where website ownership was once the domain of only a talented few, it is now open to anyone.
The outlook from here
With revenue from online sales rising exponentially, many people are wondering where this enormous industry will go next. There are a few key topics which seem to be directing people’s attention in 2018 forecasting, with debates over the future of wholesale and the high street raging. ‘Omni-channel’ is one of the big buzzwords of the moment, and represents the move to unify the instore, online, and mobile shopping experience. Encompassing the various themes of brand identity, ease of purchase, and consumer price consciousness, companies are hoping that by harnessing these considerations they can encourage engagement and, in turn, sales.
Whatever your view of the online shopping boom, there is no doubt that it’s here to stay. Just as the Christmas sales exemplify, people are always ready and willing to jump on the best deals available; whether that is online or in brick and mortar stores. Going forward, the high street is having to fight harder and harder to maintain its place at the forefront of the retail industry, as ecommerce continues to grow its reach. And with more and more people turning their hand at opening up their own stores online, this growth is only set to speed up.