Online Shopping and The Smartphone Push - Deepstash

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The curious origins of online shopping

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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Panic Buying
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.

...
Downsides of Panic Buying
  • Panic buying makes people feel in charge of the situation, while seemingly mundane measures like hand-washing, which are actually impactful, seem ordinary.
  • The problem comes when people overbuy in their over-panicked state of mind (irrational stockpiling), making the shortages worse than they really are.
  • Speculators also take advantage of panic buying and raise prices of essential items like face masks, forcing companies to take appropriate measures.
Loss Aversion

..is a principle which makes people do things so that they don't feel regretful later. 

People are panic-buying for the same reason too, with social media and news media amplifying the sense of scarcity.

Different types of "shopaholics"
  • Compulsive shoppers: Buying when they are feeling emotional distress.
  • Trophy shoppers: They are always looking for the next great item.
  • ...
Socially acceptable

Shopping can be socially acceptable because consumerism is continually pushed on us in the forms of posters, adverts, and signs.

Shopping is also a way of life: You need food and clothing from stores. Even if you try to stop compulsive buying by avoiding the stores in person, there is still a world of online shopping.

Addiction vs compulsion
Addiction describes trying something, becoming emotionally and physically dependent on it, and then becoming psychologically and physically addicted to it. People who struggle with addiction have explained feeling euphoric, elevated, happy, complete, and whole when they partake in their addiction. Compulsion refers to a specific, intense urge to do something. People who struggle with a compulsion explain feeling immense relief and relaxation from completing behaviors that they feel compelled to do.
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 a...

Dopamine and online shopping

According to research, we get a dopamine surge from buying stuff that causes us to want more and more.

Delayed gratification when the order arrives a few days later also makes is more physiologically rewarding than shopping in stores.

Online shopping 

Some online shops have made it especially easy to shop with a one-click buying process. Most major retailers offer free shipping, and only one in ten consumers return stuff they've bought online.

Americans are also taking up more space with all the stuff they are amassing. Self-storage units are rapidly increasing too.