We cannot deny the fact that being online and our reliance on the internet has made our lives easier. However, it has made us question if the high street is worth it anymore because shopping online is more practical in most aspects.

We cannot deny the fact that being online and our reliance on the internet has made our lives easier. But is it worth going to the high street when online shopping is more practical in most aspects?

Consumers and online shopping

Online shopping simplifies our lifestyles due to the fact that we can buy more things at once from the comfort of our home or even on the go. Online shopping is comforting. If I feel down, I will go online, scroll for hours and this eases my mind.

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Online shopping can also be a distraction. Admittedly, most of us university students browse during lectures and add to our carts; it’s entertaining and somewhat relaxing. As consumers, this can make us spend more than we have because it’s too easy to buy anything of any quantity at out our own convenience.

Online shopping also encourages us consumers to constantly buy items for every new occasion. We become stuck in that mindset of “I have nothing to wear, just let me browse ASOS”, building the basket up. We become blinded and don’t stop to think that most of us already have a full wardrobe. Does this make us bad consumers? Have we fallen into the fast fashion trap?

A lot of us are probably victims of the fast fashion industry because we buy something new, wear it once and then dispose of it a year later. According to a survey found in Quartz, some women will only wear an outfit once as to not repeat it on social media (and it would be a crime for anyone to see it again). This causes us to spend more online because we generally aren’t satisfied. We become influenced by celebrities and bloggers, following the latest trends, buying new items that will be ‘out of fashion’ two months later.

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It seems we have no problem with ‘’wasting’’ our money. Instead of spending recklessly on items that last half a year, shouldn’t we invest in longer-lasting items when shopping online.

Is it easier shopping online?

Yes, it is easier. That is a fact. Money almost seems invisible, whereas, in a shop, it’s far more obvious that you’re spending. Online it’s easy to spend £100 without really considering the consequences. Evidently this is a bad aspect of online shopping. It encourages us to spend our money more freely than we perhaps should. It’s easy to forget how this could lead to a dent in our bank statements at the end of the month. 

However, online shopping doesn’t only include clothes but also everyday appliances and of course food. We have the ability to do our grocery shopping online and make sure that it is delivered to us at a convenient time that works for us and our busy lives. This also helps those we are unable to go out and buy their groceries and instead can do it from the comfort of their home.

We live in a world of subscriptions for next day delivery on almost every website. This goes for everything from clothes, to food shopping and sites such as Amazon where we are guaranteed that our package will arrive the next day.

So yes, it is easier to shop online as you are certain that you’ll find whatever it is you need (or don’t need) instantly, instead of possibly going out shopping and waste a trip.

Does this mean the death of the high street?

Shopping online does mean you cannot see the item in real life and sometimes you’re better off if you do. For example, you won’t know if that dress fits until it arrives, and who actually has time to return items? Also shopping online might prove difficult for elderly people who don’t master the art of online shopping as well.

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So although more people spending online will reduce the use of the high street, it won’t be the death of it. Shopping is made more interactive as there are shopping centres with food places but also activities such as bowling and mini golf. The high street is changing and evolving and we have seen this development in the last 10 years. Sometimes we don’t need to go to the high street and would rather venture for new ways of shopping even if it isn’t online.  Many new markets and vintage stalls have opened; people are more open to second-hand shopping and also creating their own pop-ups.  If the traditional high street were to close down, perhaps this is a kind of high street that would flourish.

Because going on a shopping trip has become more of an experience, it won’t die anytime soon. You can’t exactly go bowling or mini-golfing with your friends online.

Mansi Vithlani
BA Journalism

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