Online Shopping and The Smartphone Push

  • By 2017, Smartphone usage hit 80 percent worldwide, and online shopping apps became a common thing to use.
  • Since then, online shopping has been topping every sales chart, with Shopify providing the worldwide sales figure of USD 3.5 trillion in 2019.
  • A majority of stuff ordered online included electronics, books etc., with groceries not a huge priority, until this year.
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The Start Of Online Shopping

While online shopping was huge enough before 2020, it has become truly mainstream due to the push provided by the pandemic.

  • It started in Gateshead, England, when an old lady used the Videotex system, an interactive computer terminal connected to the TV, to order for groceries (margarine, cornflakes and eggs) using the remote control, back in 1984.
  • In 1994, the first online marketplace was set up, and was called NetMarket, and even had advanced encryption.
  • The first purchase in cyberspace using technology similar to the present was an audio CD of the artist Sting.

The watershed year made the world go back to basics, with people ordering groceries and essentials online.

The increasing adoption of e-commerce as well as new technologies like 5G, click-and-collect and many more is bolstering the use of online shopping. The ongoing pandemic is changing the demands and needs of the consumer, with companies adopting hybrid models to stay relevant and useful.

  • Pizza Hut started selling pizzas online in 1994, using a flat, grey website to take the addresses and phone numbers of pizza-hungry customers.
  • Amazon.com too was launched in 1994, when we could only buy books on the site and is now the biggest online retail store, making the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people on the planet.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Thanksgiving fell on the last Thursday of November since 1863 until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November (starting with 1941), influenced by the request of a powerful coalition of retailers.
  • When Thanksgiving fell on November 30, it left only 24 holiday shopping days and this worried retailers who reasoned that busy holiday shoppers would simply shop less in a shorter season.
  • They promoted the idea that a longer holiday shopping season would be good for the American economy.

What Is Black Friday - History of the Holiday Shopping Phenomenon

moneycrashers.com

Buying endless stuff

Before the internet, we had to set time aside to walk and browse a physical store, which was only open for a certain number of hours.

Now, it has become effortless to buy things online from anywhere, anytime and for a very good price. We do it without a second thought. And in the process, we are accumulating a lot of stuff.

'We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things'

theatlantic.com

Panic Buying

The world is seeing panic buying in supermarkets, with items like toilet paper, milk, soda, hand sanitizers, etc. flying off the shelves, especially in places with confirmed cases of the virus.

Panic buying is a psychological mechanism fueled by anxiety along with a herd mentality. People hoard stuff in panic, due to fear of the unknown, according to experts.


The psychology of panic buying

bbc.com

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