Online shopping has continued to increase in popularity in recent years, but 2013 showed especially impressive sales. Mercury News of San Jose reported statistics released by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark which showed, “From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, online retail sales were up 10 percent over the same period last year, confirming what retailers and experts suspected – more shoppers are using the web not just to browse for gifts, but to buy them.” Thanksgiving weekend alone saw a 15 percent increase in online sales compared to 2012.
Most popular online purchases
Highest in popularity were smartphones and tablets, whose sales increased 46 percent, which number accounted for nearly 17 percent of all online sales. And of those two, tablets were purchased twice as often as smartphones. In the mobile device shopping kingdom, Apple continues to rule the day with five times as many users purchasing through the Apple iOS as through any Android operating system.
Shipping delayed at Christmas
This uptick in online spending was unprecedented, and it left the post office and other shipping agencies scrambling to keep up. Greater volume than expected and bad weather delayed the arrival of UPS and FedEx gifts, sparking complaints from many customers. Amazon, Walmart, and Kohl’s customers were among those affected. Amazon promised $20 gift cards to anyone whose gifts arrived late.
Making holiday returns
One problem with online shopping is the chance of forgetting what you ordered and buying a duplicate in the store. This is why the day after Christmas is the busiest day of the year for people making returns and spending with gift cards. Travis Preston is manager of a Super Target in Kansas and he said, “The most common things that are returned are toys.” The cause, he explained is, “You know it’s just that day and age where people want it and they want it now and they want it quickly to the point where multiple family members bought the same thing for the same child.”
If you need to make a return, you can really expedite the process by bringing a receipt. Preston said, “It’s one scan for our team member and we can get you in and out in a couple minutes.” Target shoppers, however, face other problems as reports have surfaced of hackers stealing “data on up to 40 million credit and debit card accounts.” Reuters said the hackers may have “also obtained encrypted PINS – personal identification numbers.” Target said they don’t believe any PINS were stolen.
The future of online shopping
Online shopping will continue to get more popular, there’s no doubt about it. We can already get everything there from tablets to Jumpin Jammerz footed pajamas. Soon we’ll be ordering our groceries online and getting them delivered, too. Oh wait, I guess some places already offer that service . . .