With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime and free delivery codes allowing consumers to purchase all of their gifts for the holiday season online, from the comfort of their own home, to be delivered the very next day, is the true spirit of Christmas being forgotten?
A 2015 survey by Approved Index found that 90 per cent of people did their shopping online, with 70 per cent blaming chaotic crowds as the main drawback to shopping on the high street. It also found that people would rather compromise with a similar item, than go search for it in store, if it was out of stock online.
However, I feel that although shopping online may be convenient, easy and sometimes even more affordable, it takes that ‘something special’ away.
The virtual Christmas scene may be stress free, but where is the fun in that? Remember the days of searching for that gift, amongst a sea of people doing exactly the same thing? Seeing how retail shops and centres have spruced up their interiors and decorated their windows? Hearing the store sound systems playing Christmas songs? Breaking off to enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate from one of the new hot beverage Christmas ranges, or even a mulled wine or beer from the German markets? Online shopping may seem convenient, but it does nothing to help you get into the festive spirit.
The social side of things
It can be lonely to sit at a computer and search the web for Christmas presents, but shopping can be a group activity. You can go with friends or family, or even just ask the advice from a store assistant if needed. This social interaction is fun and can bring people closer together. It can also make buying a present for even the most ‘hard to please’ person, a less tedious affair.
The emotional payoff
Investing time and effort into shopping in person gives a sense of accomplishment to the consumer, as there is no feeling like the pride of finding the perfect present after snatching the last one from the shelf and leaving the store knowing that you have everything that you came for. This instant gratification means that another thing can be crossed off your to-buy list there and then, leaving you feeling extremely productive and as if it was worth the trip.
If you believe online shopping is the way forward, do so using a shared computer to your own detriment. Imagine buying a present for your child or significant other, and having them see it as an advert on their Facebook feed. Thanks to cookies, your online shopping habits will allow targeted ads to tailor your browsing and potentially reveal your choice of gift to the exact person you were trying to hide it from. Also, if they’re the one who answers the door to the package, which may clearly state what the item is or which niche shop it is from, they could become suspicious from the get go, thus ruining their surprise.
No delivery charges
If you want to buy the item, you can purchase it and not have to wait around for it to be delivered, nor pay for that wait. Most shopping centres offer free parking outside, or nearby, and so you can buy and return items without worrying about pesky shipping fees or return costs.
When you order something and the delivery is more expensive than the item. 🙃
— EVES LH44 🍁 (@evenahguarts) November 24, 2016
I too fit into the branch of people getting odd items online, but I much prefer the in store experience at Christmas time and even sometimes stock up on gifts to put away throughout the entire year.
Do you prefer shopping online or in store in the holiday season? Let me know in the comments below!