E-commerce Growth and Popularity: Key Benefits and Future Outlook
The growth of online trade has been evident for some time, with increasing numbers of people enjoying the benefits of shopping on the internet each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend, significantly boosting e-commerce sales during this period.
Strong Growth Rates During the Pandemic
According to a comprehensive study by the German Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (BEVH), e-commerce sales rose by 10.6 percent in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Germans spent approximately 56 billion euros in online stores. The most significant growth rates were seen in everyday items such as food, pet food, medicines, and drugstore products. It is not surprising that e-commerce experienced substantial gains during the pandemic, as the population was urged to stay at home as much as possible. Many brick-and-mortar stores even had to close for several weeks. However, the e-commerce boom had been in progress for years before the crisis and was only amplified by it. Each year, more people appreciate the convenience of shopping from their own homes, and there are several reasons for this trend.
Reasons for the Popularity of Online Shopping
Convenience of 24/7 Shopping
The primary reason people increasingly shop online is the convenience of being able to do so from home at any time. This aspect became even more critical during the pandemic, as online shopping eliminated the fear of close contact with others and removed the need for a face mask. Browsing online stores on a smartphone or tablet while relaxing on the couch is much more enjoyable than navigating crowded physical stores and waiting in long queues to pay. Additionally, online stores are open 24/7, particularly appealing to busy individuals who lack the time or desire to visit multiple stores after work.
Product Variety, Time-saving, and Delivery
Today, almost anything can be purchased online. If an item is not available at one online store, it can likely be found at another with just a click. Brick-and-mortar stores cannot compete with this level of variety as they have limited selections.
Searching through multiple online stores is much quicker than visiting a series of physical stores. There is no need to drive to congested city centers, search for parking, wait in line at the cash register, or move from one store to another.
Furthermore, online shopping often includes convenient next-day delivery to customers' homes, providing an unparalleled level of convenience.
Pricing Advantages, Discounts, and Returns
Online shops do not have to pay costly store rent and can pass on savings, such as reduced staff expenses, directly to customers. Many online stores also attract customers with competitive prices and discounts. For example, an appealing voucher may be offered when signing up for a newsletter.
All online purchases include a two-week right of withdrawal, allowing customers to return products without providing a reason and receive a refund.
Many consumers opt for online shopping when they cannot find an item in-store or do not have access to a nearby store that stocks the desired product.
Bright Future for E-commerce
Online commerce offers numerous appealing advantages that make internet shopping an attractive option. While it is still enjoyable to browse brick-and-mortar stores occasionally, online shopping often presents a more advantageous alternative. As a result, the e-commerce boom is likely to continue even after the pandemic. For many people, life without online shopping is becoming increasingly unimaginable.
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