Online shopping is a popular American pastime. In the second quarter of 2018, Americans spent $127.3 billion online. Online shopping is easy, convenient, and the internet never closes.
Everything can be yours with a simple click, and you can score some great deals and have fun shopping online.
However online shopping can be incredibly costly when you make unplanned purchases, go over your budget, or waste time at work scrolling through websites.
The Rise of Online Shopping:
According to statistics 96% Americans now shop online, and 82% use a mobile device to do so.
The frequency of online shopping is increasing, 15% of Americans now purchase something online on weekly basis, and 28% do so a few times per month.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) reports that on Black Friday 2018, people spent over $2 billion shopping online, while Cyber Monday saw $6.8 billion in sales (biggest shopping online day in history).
The chances are good that 2019 will break the record gain.
Is It Really Our Fault?
It is not entirely our fault that online shopping has gotten so out of hands. Retailers make it effortless to browse, add a few impulse buys to our carts, and spend more than we planned.
They promise free shipping, show us related products or accessories on a side bar and tempt us to spend more with coupon codes.
Even when you are not on an e commerce site, dozens of flashy ads from sites you have already visited try tempt you to return.
Problem is that sometimes we use the convenience of online shopping to escape or avoid people or situations we don’t want to confront.
Instead of studying for midterms, we visit Amazon, instead of dealing with our out of control kids, we browse for a new toy to make them happy.
There is a tool that helps you to keep a track of online sales:
Social shopping platform, New York based countr lets you and your friends share, recommend, swap and group chat about potential online purchases.
As you save products to Countr, you will also be notified about when they drop in price. Plus, you can use your counterweight to get more deals and exclusives from retailers.
To increase your score and receive rewards, users should actively interact within the Countr community, whether its advocating a brand, recommending items or purchasing and reviewing products.
Are You Addicted to Online Shopping?
Online shopping has become a serious problem. People who are addicted to it have psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
While some people only occasionally shop online it seems that for others the habit is becoming an addiction so much, that experts claim that it should be classed as mental health condition.
Worryingly, people with the conditions also tend to buy more than they can afford or use.
How To Know If Online Shopping Habit Has Become Something More Sinister?
Look for signs like:
- You often hide purchases form your family.
- You frequently exceed your monthly budget because of online purchases.
- You argue with your spouse or partner over your purchases.
- You often feel guilty after you make an online purchase.
- You feel upset or out of sorts if you can not visit your favorite retailer’s website.
- You often buy things you don’t need just because they were on sale.
Because of the convenience of internet shopping so many people are now showing worrying signs of obsessive behavior which leads to a mental disorder and in the long run, the condition can lead to extreme distress, family issues and even embezzlement.
According to the study BSD affects almost 5% of adults in developed countries.
BSD is defined as an extreme preoccupation with and craving for buying or shopping, as well as irresistible ad identity seeking urges.
The researchers analyzed data from earlier studies reporting on 122 patients seeking treatment for BSD.
How To Overcome Online Shopping Addiction?
Remove Your Credit Cards:
If you, like most people have entered and saved your credit card information on your favorite retailer’s sites you can check out with the click of a single button, this makes it all too easy.
Deleting all your saved credit cards means that when you want to make a purchase, you have to physically get up, get your wallet or purse, and then enter in your shipping and billing information.
These few extra minutes might be all you need to decide you don’t want to bother with the purchase at all.
Bring Your Own Entertainment:
Many people browse online when they’re bored. Perhaps you’re at the doctor’s office, waiting for your kids at school, or in a long line at the grocery store.
All too often, this leads to random online browsing, which leads to an e-commerce site, where it’s tempting to buy something to alleviate your boredom.
To combat boredom shopping, always have some other form of entertainment with you. For example, keep a book you’ve been meaning to read in your car and pick that up instead while you’re waiting for your kids.
Learn something new on YouTube. Carry a journal and write down some of your thoughts or concerns about the day. Listen to a great podcast or audiobook.
In short, do something else besides opening the Web browser on your phone.
Online shopping can be both a curse and a blessing. Yes, it saves the time and hassle of in-person shopping, which is especially convenient if you have kids.
However, many people frequently spend more than they planned, and more than they can afford, when they shop online. After all, Amazon never closes, and 24/7 access to the Internet can be a challenge when you’re trying to save money.
Simple strategies such as removing your saved credit cards and unsubscribing from newsletters can go a long way toward helping you avoid the temptation to shop.
But the most powerful strategy to curb online shopping might be identifying a more meaningful use of that money, such as sending your child to college or giving more charity.