The dangers of online shopping

The use of online shopping in replacement of other retail means is continuing to increase year on year. Many millions of consumers turn to online resources for a whole host of different shopping requirements. Some shop online because it is convenient and others because it is considered an enjoyable experience. It would seem that regardless of whether we ‘want’ or ‘need’ to shop online; we continue to do so at an increasingly rate. Over the years, consumer confidence concerning the internet has only ever grow and as such many of us now use the internet as a means to conduct many different aspects of our everyday lives. Whether that be online banking, online shopping or even of course; communicating with our friends and families. Social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram have become part of everyday life for many billions of individuals around the world after all. In many respects the interest is a universal tool and as such can usually supply us with the good or service we desire, regardless of what they may be. Whilst online security continues to increase to support demand and mobile optimised applications continue to become more readily available, should we then start to further consider just how often we shop online?

Five years ago the average consumer may not have been savvy at online shopping and instead preferred the resources of their local high street. Nowadays however this stance has very much changed thanks to continued marketing, better quality sites and safer security measures. Instead, consumers in today’s economy are comfortable using the internet to conduct their shopping. In 2014 alone for example, 74% of UK adults had made at least one form of purchase online. As the years have passed though, this figure has only ever increased, with research from July of this year on the part of the Office of National Statistics suggesting a staggering £963.8 million was spent on average each week. This figure represents an increase of 16.7% compared to July of last year. So whilst increased online shopping can only ever be great news for online retailers, what does this really mean for consumers? Well on a positive note increasing spending habits mean that there is greater competition for online retailers. This is then passed down to consumers by the way of discount and deals which see online retailers attempt to win business and stop us shopping around; a task which is very difficult for online retails given the often vast choice available.

So whilst online shopping can now be done via the means of mobile optimised sites for our convenience and leisure and furthermore discounts and offers are there for the taking, what does this mean for our shopping habits in general? Arguably easy access to all sorts of goods and services mean that collectively, we are likely to spend more and in some cases over-spend. Debt in the UK continues to climb each year and there is an argument to suggest that as an economy, we might be heading towards a tipping point; where average UK households can no longer support the outgoings demanded of them. Online shopping of course is a massive contributing factor. The sheer fact we can access it whenever and wherever we like means that it is more important to shop savvy and not over spend. Consumers continue to use credit to fuel spending which then leads to increased outgoings and for many, increased debts.

For those of us who wish to avoid the temptation to shop online there are a few tips to follow. First and foremost, never shop online without having a clear understanding of what it is you are looking for. This means only shop online when you know what it is you want to purchase. Clothing is a superb example of why this is important. Many clothing based websites will immediately offer the opportunity for discount the minute you arrive on their site to ensure you do not leave without picking up a ‘bargain’. This could then mean you make purchases purely based on the discount instead of there being a genuine need to purchase. With that in mind, another tip is to never settle for paying the full price when shopping online. Whether this means taking the time to look for discount codes or asking the online chat facility, available on most websites, if there is a promotion to be used; there are always opportunities to save money online. A great tip for online shopping is to do so only when you have the means available to make the purchase. This means if you do not have the disposable income required to make a form of online purchase; simply do not start the process of online shopping in the first place. A combination of these tips should help consumers think more carefully and with consideration when it comes to using the resources of the internet, which for consumers generally, can only mean opportunities to save a little extra money each and every month.

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This article is not intended to contain information about, or advertise, products offered by us but is intended to contain information, give opinions or discuss generally available products/services.

Author: Internal Customer Services Agent

 

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