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The Popularity of Online Shopping is Down, Even Though Sales Are Up

In Personal on January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

According to sales figures, more and more consumers spend dollars online, especially over the holidays. But there’s another side to that equation – the fact that more and more consumers are finding online shopping to be disappointing.

First off, though, the numbers. Online sales for Cyber Monday 2012 were up 17% and were extremely heavy on Thanksgiving as well as Black Friday. Also, online shopping increased approximately 15% over the holiday season and during 12 days of that season people spent over $1 billion dollars.

Even though the holidays have passed, people are still shopping and enjoying sales in the post-Christmas season. Part of that is because gift cards have increased in popularity as gifts. This has led retailers to expect that post-holiday shopping will continue through the middle of January at a minimum.

Even as more customers are shopping with their keyboards, however, large numbers of people are finding the experience unsatisfying. Although one of the biggest advantages of online shopping is that it saves a trip to the store, that doesn’t mean that avoiding a bricks and mortar experience is painless. Some of the problems that people reported this season were gifts that came unwrapped when consumers requested wrapping, cards from the recipients buried at the bottom of the box or simply not included, gifts that didn’t make it on time for Christmas, or the wrong gift was sent.

Complaints about online shopping weren’t just limited to incorrect orders. The Holiday E-Retail Shopping Index surveyed over 24,000 people and they were far from overjoyed by their experience. Online shopping rated only a 78 out of 100 points, which was down from 80 percent last year. Some retailers were singled out by name, like Fingerhut and Gilt, but consumers mostly seemed to have found the experience less satisfying overall.

Whether or not that will mean an uptick in sales for bricks and mortar retailers over the next holiday season is anyone’s guess. But it could make sense for them to try to capitalize on consumer’s online dissatisfaction.

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