With gas prices being so low, uh I mean HIGH (almost got you there), people are starting to wonder which is better, to stay home and shop on-line or to get in my car and head to the store. Let me start by giving you some online retail information.
According The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2008, adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes, was $33.8 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent (±1.0%) from the fourth quarter of 2007. Total retail sales for the first quarter of 2008 were estimated at $1,024.2 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent (±0.2%) from the fourth quarter of 2007. The first quarter 2008 e-commerce estimate increased 13.6 percent (±1.2%) from the first quarter of 2007 while total retail sales increased 2.8 percent (±0.2%) in the same period.
E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2008 accounted for 3.3 percent of total sales. On a not adjusted basis, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2008 totalled $32.4 billion, a decrease of 16.9 percent (±1.0%) from the fourth quarter of 2007. The first quarter 2008 e-commerce estimate increased 13.4 percent (±1.2%) from the first quarter of 2007 while total retail sales increased 3.7 percent (±0.2%) in the same period. E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2008 accounted for 3.4 percent of total sales. Click here for more information: http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/data/html/08Q1.html
Now, you may think that with only 3.4% of consumers shopping online that the trend is negative and not very popular. Let me put things in perspective for you…it was only 0.6% in 2000! So although it is clear that physical shopping is still the preferred method of shopping, virtual shopping is on the rise. With gas prices always rising, online security improving, shipping cost reducing, and online “special” becoming very aggressive…you may be the next person joining the online shopping growth! Here are a few tips for shopping online: there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right online store. First, check their security. Do they have a certificate (https://) or hacker proof? Then, read their policies…don’t just click “agree”. Some policies are not clear and very misleading.
Then, look for a purpose! I found that many sites give you ways to shop that are very rewarding. Some online mall may provide shopping while giving to charities (up to five). Plus you may even get great rebates, access to brand name stores such as Land’s End, Office depot, etc… Points or loyalty program is something that you should also take in consideration…you know, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor. This is online shopping at its best!!! And let’s not forget our blogging…you will find many articles on online shopping with ideas on goodwill, donating, volunteering, fundraisers, and much, much, more!