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The Growing Threat of Online Shopping

Reeva Lalani

Online shopping's meteoric rise, embraced by 79% of Americans, disrupts spending patterns and social spaces. This revolution, however, bites back – jobs vanish, malls shutter, and isolation looms. Secured payments and robust site integrity, critical for a thriving, responsible future of online commerce.

In this day and age, community interactions are declining because of online shopping. As the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho expressed, "People are very reluctant to talk about their private lives but then you go to the internet and they're much more open." This openness and the accessibility to technology devices such as iPads, tablets, phones, computers, and laptops are the best way to do virtual shopping. 


Convenience is the commodity that matters most to the Internet Culture. More and more people are turning "in a frenzy" towards online shopping. Who does not like a few items in their virtual shopping cart? 


From teenagers to middle-aged Americans to the elderly, clicking and clicking, shopping and shopping, the nation is getting more hooked on devices by the day. 


So, is online shopping a real threat to traditional business? According to the PEW research center, 79% of Americans shop online. It has grown exponentially due to its positive attributes like convenience and time-saving.  


Online shopping has brought significant changes to financial transactions as well. In the memory of many people's parents, they used to pay their utility bills by walking to the bank. Still, with the evolution of a more friendly attitude towards the internet, those bills are delivered online.


Another example is that many people used to see local bankers frequently, but now banking is done online, even to the point of getting auto loans and home mortgage advice. 


Young adults and mature buyers (over 40) are the most frequent online shoppers. Their online shopping preference helps them avoid trips to malls, crowded stores, and faraway parking or traffic while still being able to choose from a variety of gifts, accessories, clothing, and more with just a "click" from their devices. 


As every coin has another side, online shopping has its liabilities. Nobody wants to be "famous" because unknown users hack their information. For instance, credit card and financial information are shared online, and hackers can access it too. Data shows that since 2014, there has been an increase of up to 46% in data breaches. 


The technology market has responded to threats of virtual or online shopping with several ways to maintain a positive shopping experience. For example, one should enforce safe payment methods, such as credit or debit cards, check the website references, and shop carefully by checking site security before you buy.  


However, the convenience and safety of online shopping breeds impulse buying. MoneyGeek shows that the average American cardholder has accumulated $5,769 in credit card debt in Q1 2022, up from $5,611 in Q1 2021. 


Moreover, people working in retail stores are losing their jobs, as well as a population adjustment to the changes in the American economy. Apart from businesses closing, people's social habits have been changing significantly. Instead of people driving cars, they order taxis from Uber for transportation purposes. In large cities, many people even choose not to buy cars. Therefore, the online shopping business has affected the car business too.  


Consequently, social isolation is becoming a common issue in our modern world. People have 840 friends on Facebook, but they cannot connect to their next-door neighbors in real life. 


Therefore, traditional malls are suffering and even closing down due to growing virtual shopping. There was a time when people used to hang out at malls, and corner stores are becoming a thing of the past. This causes them to have lost touch due to infrequent interactions in this day and age. The biggest threat to online shopping is human isolation.

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