Posted on November 19, 2019 11:40 am

Shopping habits in the 21st century

Shopping is changing with technology

For Millennials, which is taken to mean those born between 1981 and 1996, there’s an odd period in time where we remember what it was like without mobile phones and the internet, and yet we’re also completely comfortable with today’s technology and how it’s used.

Looking back, it feels strange to see how far we’ve come in such a relatively short amount of time, and to see the generations that came after us who have literally no recollection of a life without this tech.It’s overwhelming at times to consider, for example, that social media marketing strategy and engagement only really became a thing in the last five years.

The John Lewis Christmas advert, for example, is deemed successful now based on online views, number of shares and number of likes, rather than its reach via traditional methods of TV advertising or cinema advertising.

Marketing departments and university degree courses are now packed with experts in SEO and social media marketing rather than the traditional methods that used to count towards billboards or TV adverts, for example.

With the introduction of online shopping, too, the act of spending money on goods and services has become easier than ever before. Now, rather than having to drive in the wet and wind to a shopping centre to browse around and buy things, we have the likes of Amazon, Argos and eBay who will deliver the items to your door within 24 hours, all without the need to leave your sofa.

These changes in technology have totally changed our shopping habits, too, meaning that marketing, advertising, product research and design no longer resembles anything like it did even 15 years ago.

Here we’re going to take a look at how shopping habits have changed in that period, and what to expect in the future.

Mobile Phones

The ease in which we can buy consumer items via smart devices has changed the landscape of shopping entirely. The experience of shopping for things we need, like food, has changed from an unpleasant necessity into a much easier experience now that we’re able to simply order online and have it delivered to our door.

This has meant that the majority of supermarkets have decided to stop opening 24 hours a day, as most people simply don’t physically shop at the supermarket anymore and the costs of electricity and staff overnight was costing a fortune.
In fact, it’s meant that Amazon have entered the market now and have set up their own Amazon Go supermarkets which allow shoppers to enter, fill their baskets and walk out without ever interacting with a member of staff. Each item they pick up is tracked by their phone, and the payment is completed via their amazon account.

Augmented Reality

Probably one of the most futuristic planned changes for the future, as we enter the 2020’s, is augmented reality shopping experiences and virtual reality shopping experiences where simply attaching a headset or glasses will allow you to ‘virtually’ browse the shelves of supermarkets and clothes stores before paying up at the end.

There’s not many who think that physical shops will go all together, but as you’ve probably noticed walking down your high street, there’s not really much room left for shops that don’t offer something a little different to the customer.

Candy shops, as an example, are probably something that will never leave the high street because of the enjoyment of actually walking around and picking the sweets. Cinemas as well, are experiences and what most are finding now is that shops or outlets that fail to offer an ‘experience’ are struggling to compete with the internet for ease and convenience.

At the end of the day, the internet, phones, tablets and the online experience have changed shopping, marketing and buying habits forever. Things will never be the same again and the big questions going forward are more likely to be who can compete with the likes of Amazon and Facebook for supremacy in the consumer and marketing worlds.