Increase in online shopping impacts local store sales

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Online shopping has become the new norm in American society, making it easy for people to spend without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes.

Instead of having to drive to the local mall and wait in line to buy things, everything is available to buy online.

Online shopping retail sales reached $2.3 trillion in 2017, an estimated 24.8 percent increase from the year prior, according to an eMarketer report.

Tracey Grisham, sophomore mathematics major, said she enjoys the efficiency of online shopping.

“Whenever I need something, I can pull out my phone or computer and find what I need and buy it,” Grisham said. “I don’t have to take the time to go to a store.”

Chante Graham, sophomore business management major, said she frequently shops online.

“I’ve noticed that stores like Forever 21 have been building up their online presence by adding items that are labeled ‘web exclusive’ or giving online-only discounts,” Graham said.

Companies are investing more in online shopping because they noticed the consumer’s preference is to shop online.

Cyber Monday, now the biggest online shopping event of the year, was introduced in 2005. This “holiday” allows people to score the same deals as they would on Black Friday without the long lines, aching feet and chaotic environments.

Cyber Monday continues to rival the profits of Black Friday every year.

Graham said she recognizes the appeal of shopping online versus in-store when it comes to Black Friday.

“I do enjoy buying things on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday,” Graham said. “You don’t have to deal with crowds.”

Although from the consumer standpoint online shopping can be incredibly convenient, brick-and-mortar stores are now paying the price.

Kerry Eden, assistant city manager and administrative services director of finance for the city of Corona, said she has witnessed how stores are suffering from online shopping popularity.

“There’s been quite a loss in sales for brick-and-mortar stores because it’s so much easier and more convenient just to shop at home,” Eden said.

Brick-and-mortar chain stores such as Sports Authority and Toys r Us have closed their doors recently. Such closures are not likely to stop as the popularity of online shopping continues to grow.

Eden said the city of Corona has seen a reduction in overall sales tax from online shopping.

“If you go inside the actual store and make a purchase, the city gets 1 percent of that sales tax directly,” Eden said. “When you do online shopping, that percentage  goes into a pool for the county and we get a smaller fraction of what’s collected in sales tax.”

The increase in online shopping could negatively impact how cities profit from local sales tax. This impact varies from city to city, but less money could mean less funding for civic services, road maintenance and transportation.

Brick-and-mortar stores may continue to suffer from this shift in consumers’ habits and impact cities as consumers shift toward the virtual world of online shopping.

Though many stores are still profiting, many of these retailers could be at risk for closing in the future. Online shopping delivers satisfaction to consumers, but competing with the success of brick-and mortar stores every year.

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