Is there a buzz of excitement every time you go shopping? You should definitely like the sensation. When we buy something we like, we get a massive dopamine hit, making us feel fantastic.
During the lockdown, people were forced to rely increasingly on the internet for everything, including retail therapy and the aftermath of dopamine euphoria. In fact, there was a major spike in online sales caused by the pandemic in 2020.
Online shopping in numbers
The overall sales via online shopping were almost one-third more than the year before. Statistics from 2020 ARTS suggest that online retail sales jumped from USD 571.2 billion in 2019 to USD 815.4 billion in 2020, a 43 per cent increase.
The success of internet shopping has reached Bangladesh just like it has the rest of the world. Despite a 70 per cent spike in sales from 2019 to 2020, the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-Cab) reported that just 3 per cent of the entire population started making online purchases during the pandemic.
According to a recent market analysis, online retail would experience yearly growth of 17.61 per cent, reaching Tk 65,966 crore in 2022 and a valuation exceeding that amount by 2023.
The number of individuals who shop online has skyrocketed in recent years, with over 2.14 billion people doing it presently. Assuming a global population of 7.9 billion, this equates to around 27 per cent of online shoppers.
The online market has not attracted a specific age group but age demographics of all types. Mrs Ruksana, a cautious mother of two children, was unfamiliar with online shopping before the pandemic. When she discovered that visiting stores was risky due to the outbreak, she resorted to internet shopping and never looked back.
"When the situation escalated in the epidemic, I resorted to internet shopping entirely to avoid any direct contact when buying. I conduct multiple purchases every month via internet shopping as I find it more feasible as I do not have to take the difficulty of going all the way to the shop. It saves my time and gives me comfort."
In the past, most product sales were made through traditional advertising channels like television, print media, and billboards. The internet, however, has put customers in the driving seat, allowing them to add items to their carts without visiting a store physically.
Availability of multiple options
Labiba Farah Abonty, a student at IUT from Rajshahi, resides far from home in the university dormitory to pursue her dream career. She voiced her frustration at running out of necessities and being unable to find them in the Gazipur suburb.
"I frequently run out of groceries and rarely find them in Gazipur; even when I do, I cannot rely on their authenticity. The majority of them are out of my price bracket."
Abonty discovered the answer to all of her problems on the internet. "I've learned to rely on internet retailers like Daraz, which provide many incredible deals each month. I ensure I receive the notifications of the deals. Even though there is a delivery charge, I would prefer to shop online due to the lack of options regarding purchasing authentic products in this suburb," she added.
No matter what you choose to purchase, online stores offer local and imported goods, which has greatly impacted online customers' growth. Social media platforms and their assistance in increasing clients via platforms such as meta business have enabled small firms to explore the massive potential accessible.
The impact needs to be controlled
In a world full of options, it has helped people to grab the best possible option. However, people should be aware of impulsive buying by asking themselves whether they would have made the same decision if they hadn't been exposed to the product. Such purchases are often influenced by social media influencers rather than stemming from any necessity.
Shamarruk Fatmi, a third-year student studying architecture at the Ahsanulullah University of Technology, described her fascination with online shopping, "I am turning into a shopaholic. Every other day I find thousands of sale posts coming to my Facebook, which makes it hard for me to restrain from shopping at such an affordable price. It turns out that these small amounts sum to a huge amount at the end of the month."
As a result, she has been unable to save and gets broke at the end of every month.
The online market is unquestionably expanding, and many consumers are altering their shopping habits due to the availability of more possibilities. The preference for online or in-store shopping varies from person to person. Still, in general, most online shops sell products aimed at a more extensive customer base who frequently return to their favourite online store to purchase unique items, even if they have to pay extra for the delivery charge.
The rise of online retailers has dramatically enhanced the convenience of shopping from home. But if someone keeps spending recklessly because of how convenient it is, who exactly is the puppet here, the online shopper or the consumer? Hence, whether the excitement and dopamine from a spontaneous purchase justify the cost should be contemplated properly.