The internet has had a profound effect on numerous areas of day-to-day life. One of its biggest impacts has undoubtedly been in the world of retail, with the growth of online shopping helping to transform the industry.
In the UK alone, Barclays has revealed more than one billion goods were bought through the web in 2013 and this figure is expected to reach 1.35 billion by 2018. Meanwhile, IMRG has forecast more than £100 billion will be spent over the internet during the course of 2014.
However, there are still some people who are yet to embrace online retail. If you fall into that category, here are five reasons why you should get shopping through your broadband connection.
Simplicity and ease
The main advantage of online shopping is the convenience it provides. When once you had to take a trip into town and work your way around the crowded stores, you can now buy more or less everything you need from the comfort of your own home. This is particularly useful if you live in a remote area without easy access to shops.
Whether it's a new pair of shoes or the weekly food shop, ordering online saves both time and money. One drawback of this is that you may need to be in to collect the delivery. However, many retailers now offer a click and collect service, which allows you to buy online and then pick the item up from a location that suits you.
All shoppers like a good bargain and some of the best can be found on the web. Many internet retailers offer cheaper prices than their high-street counterparts and websites like Amazon and eBay allow you to buy used items at a greatly reduced rate.
The internet is essentially the largest shopping centre in the world and there's far more choice online than you could ever hope to find on the high street. It's easy to purchase goods from abroad and if you can't find an item on the web you'll struggle to locate it anywhere else.
Christmas is not too far away now and when it comes to buying your presents, the web can really take the stress out of the process. Indeed, many online stores will even deliver a gift to its recipient fully wrapped and ready to open. According to Sage Pay, Brits will spend £13 billion during the festive period this year, up from £11 billion in 2013.
Don't get sucked in
How many of us have headed out to the shops planning to buy just a couple of items, only to come back with bags full? When shopping on the high street it's easy to make impulse buys. Indeed the layout of many stores is designed to encourage this.
One of the best things about shopping online is that you can avoid these traps, as such tactics are usually much less pronounced on online retail sites, meaning it's easier to buy only want you need and not waste money on unnecessary purchases.