The list, the rush, the panic shoving and buying, the last minute promotions all make up the Christmas shopping experience most of us have grown up with. In recent times, a shortage of highly prized Christmas toys has crystallised the power of product placement. For most high street retailers, they call this the exciting shopping experience that we all seek. The reason why high street shopping will always win over online commerce.
But I’m not so sure. The past few years has seen a decline in footfall, the crowds adorning the streets have dispersed, even the good will charity contributions from passing shoppers that many rely on have all but disappeared. It’s easy to say the recession has bitten, the economy is to blame, but there seems to be fewer behavioural shopping trends amidst the crunch to indicate that the crowds will ever return to the streets in the same way again.
Amazon have predicted that Monday 5th December will be Cyber Monday, the single biggest online shopping day before Christmas, and one that could be set to dwarf the high street numbers. Christmas food shopping is increasingly being done online, in fact online grocery sales are predicted to double by 2016, so will this leave our supermarkets empty? Even online retail fraud has dropped by 8% this year, despite the increase in online shoppers, making it safer than ever to shop online.
With busy and frantic lives, demanding jobs, less time to see friends but more time to stay in touch via Facebook, we have to ask the question do people really want to add to their anxiety at Christmas or at any other time of year for that matter? Isn’t high street shopping just a hassle? Isn’t browsing the shops fun but buying online simply easier?
Despite what the high street retailers tell us, are we fed up with the traditional shopping experience? I wonder if it’s actually declining because people don’t actually enjoy it quite as much as retailers like to think we do?