Teen shoppers increasingly going digital


Bear Witness Archives

Shoppers wait outside of the JC Penney at Oakridge Mall. This shopping season, teens are more likely to shop online.

Sarah Sabawi, Staff Writer

Most teens nowadays shop for things on the internet. After all, why wouldn’t they? Online shopping is quick, easy, and there are more options to choose from.

In fact, according to a study by PracticalEcommerce, a website dedicated to online transactions, a whopping 70 percent of teens prefer to shop at their favorite stores online, and are twice as likely as adults to shop on the internet. Odds are, you’ve probably done so yourself at some point.

But this poses the question: Will buying online eventually kill physical stores? Are you hurting brick and mortar stores with every product you click on? Unsurprisingly, many signs point to yes.

The leading shopping site flocked to by teens and adults alike is Amazon. A recent report by CBS News revealed that Amazon had record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year. Although no specific numbers were released, it was said that customers ordered over 180 million items during the five day stretch between the two holidays.

After all, online shopping was partially responsible for the closing of the Toys R Us chain. Additionally, the retail store Sears has closed hundreds of locations across the country and is considering full liquidation.

However, online shopping isn’t the only reason that these stores have gone under. Toys R Us was often described as too pricey for many families, and Sears has been plagued for years by conflict within the company itself. Regardless, the closures of these two formerly successful corporations still makes one wonder—what stores are next?

It turns out that many existing physical retailers are dealing with declining sales. According to an article by Business Insider, online titans like Amazon are directly threatening electronics stores, department stores, and bookstores. For example, once popular bookshop Barnes & Noble reported in January that its sales had dropped 6.4 percent during the holiday season.

However, individual retailers aren’t the only ones suffering — shopping malls are in hot water as well. According to Forbes, “Nearly 15 percent [of malls] are 10 to 40 percent vacant, up from five percent in 2006.” We are all familiar with the age old trope of teenagers hanging out at the mall, but it’s shocking that the destination aspect is the main thing keeping them alive.

While it is a possibility that physical stores will eventually cease to exist, it is also likely that retailers will just have to start operating more through the internet. In fact, all of the most successful retailers at the moment have their products available for purchase online, such as supermarkets and clothes stores.

Many teens, including Branham students, shop at their favorite stores online.

“I shop online once every couple weeks, but I do also shop at department stores like Forever 21 and Target,” said junior Samantha Taylor, “I think more stores are going to start incorporating online aspects. For example, at Target, you can order something online and pick it up at the store.”

So will online shopping replace in-store shopping, or will it simply continue to serve an alternative option? Whatever role the internet plays in the future, our shopping experience will definitely be changed.