In the 1990s when the Internet was just getting started, online shopping seemed like a real novelty. The selection was very limited; if you wanted to order books, there was Amazon and a few other places. There were also a few more fringe items available that might be difficult to find in stores. And that seemed like the main purpose for Internet shopping: getting things that were not within easy reach.
However, people were intrigued by Internet shopping, and it started to catch on. The number of sites, and the sort of things that they offered, began to grow tremendously. Within a few years, Amazon became a major retailing force and one of the most powerful companies in the world. That sort of growth is something no one could have foreseen back in the 1990s, but Internet shopping is a fact of life for the vast majority of the population now.
That major shift in people’s buying habits has had a major effect on the retail industry. Brick-and-mortar stores, the mainstay of the industry, have been in serious decline. Major chains like Sears and Toys “R” Us have recently filed for bankruptcy protection, something that was unthinkable as little as a decade ago.
Do you buy most of your goods online now? There is no arguing the convenience: just look something up, click your mouse a few times, and it arrives a few days later. Since they do not have a physical presence, online retailers can also offer things at a lower price, further increasing the temptation for most people.
Online shopping also provides an easy way to find the best value. Furthermore, some people only go into retail outlets to try things out. Once they have decided they want the product in question, they then order it online. Another reason that brick and mortar retail sales have dipped.