Let the online shopping e-commence

With the World Cup coming to a close, and with Wimble-done, it is time for the annual summer sales to light up the lives of shopaholics throughout the UK.

However, there is a new type of bargain-hunter stalking through the reduced section of stores worldwide. This new generation of consumer does not even leave their home, opting out from joining the thronging crowds to instead scour the virtual aisles for a summer bargain. Via the internet, on every device available; from desktops to laptops, from iPads to iPhones, Joe Public can now access and digest available merchandise with a mere click, tap or swipe.

The age of e-commerce is well and truly upon us.

The overwhelming force of online shopping has the potential to kill the high street as we know it. Unrelenting with its advertising and providing a far superior array of stock options – paralleled with easier accessibility – it’s no wonder e-commerce is booming.

Currently e-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, with sales in the UK totalling £38.83bn last year, and an estimated growth of 15.8% this year meaning nearly £45bn worth of consumer spend will be diverted off the high street and spent online instead.

Our neighbours across the pond in the US spend significantly more than the eight leading European countries put together, totalling a staggering £157bn last year. This is no surprise however, considering 54.5% of the US public are avid online shoppers compared to 45.6% in Europe.

There is no doubt that mobile shopping is boosting e-commerce figures; why wait until you get to a computer when the virtual world is in the palm of your hand? By the end of 2014 it is expected that mobile online sales via smartphones and mobile devices – or m-commerce – will reach £7.92bn, responsible for around 18% of UK online retail sales overall.

With Moore’s law defining the rate of technological and social change (doubling every two years), the continuous development and creation of smartphones and tablets means e-commerce is getting easier and easier for the consumer. Businesses too are finding transactional trade simplified with less and less need for actual humans.

The e-ffect on traditional stores has inevitably reduced the market. “Closing down” sales are all too common, littered along high streets. There is still a demand for conventional shopping however, and no doubt the few traditionalists scattered among us will just about keep the high street afloat… until an app for touching, feeling, trying on, interacting with shop assistants, and offering instant delivery is invented. Then the high street is really in trouble.

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