The Online Shopping Phenomenon

We all know what it’s like: it’s Sunday afternoon, you’re feeling wonderfully full following your second helping of roast dinner, you’ve popped out for a nice country walk and now you’re at home, in the warmth, with a cup of tea in hand and you decide to have a little look on the ASOS ‘New In’ pages.

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I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who sees this as a deserving (and necessary) Sunday afternoon ritual. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and shop to your heart’s content. The ease of online shopping has grown steadily in the last few years and with it, so too has its popularity. What’s more, many stores now offer free delivery over a certain spend and free returns, so it really couldn’t be any easier for us.

Unsurprisingly, ASOS revealed a 17% increase in its retail sales last year, with 60% of the site’s traffic and 44% of sales attributed to mobile devices. With further improvements in technology and logistics planned for this year, CEO Nick Beighton expects ASOS to double its sales in the 2016 fiscal year. 

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So, why do so many of us shop online each month? In a study released by The National Archives, 69% of 55-64 year olds bought online in 2015, compared with just 45% in 2008. For the younger generations too, online stores like ASOS, Missguided and Boohoo are drawing us in with unmissable deals and next day delivery – I still remember the days of mail order, waiting up to 31 days for delivery once your cheque had cleared!

In this day and age, we are forever on the go with what seems like little time to spare and because of this, we are losing our patience and changing our attitude towards shopping. We would prefer to sit at home and avoid the hustle and bustle of busy towns, the clinical changing rooms and long Saturday morning queues into the carpark. With Christmas just around the corner, online purchases will no doubt continue to soar, with more and more of us intent on searching for the perfect gift without having to traipse round 20 different stores, carrying mountains of bags and getting uncomfortably hot in a wool coat and scarf; only to find the queue for a cappuccino at M&S is far too long.

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While many still enjoy the experience of shopping in store – it’s certainly still one of my favourite past-times – many more are turning on the computer and adding items to their virtual basket. No doubt this process will continue to get even easier as retailers realise the ever increasing benefits and popularity of switching online, but let’s just hope we don’t fall out of love with the true experience of shopping altogether.