There’s a good chance that you have purchased something online using the device you’re reading this article on. Between eBay, Amazon, Overstock and literally thousands of other online retailers out there, it shouldn’t come as too big of a shock that shopping online is growing year on year. During 2015, the growth rate hit a staggering 33 percent overall, meaning that 1.3 times the online shopping that took place in 2014 happened in 2015. These figures may sound like a natural progression, but in reality, they signal a giant shift. Not only is online shopping slowly invading the space that in-person shopping used to take up, with Google and Amazon already getting services off the ground to deliver goods bought online, online shopping is growing simply because it’s more accessible than ever before.
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These days, you can shop from the smartphone in your pocket, the laptop or desktop in your den or even a game console, if you’re particularly determined. Opportunities to pick up exactly the item we want using the same tool we use to research the purchase are becoming more and more accessible. On top of that, a shift in what’s being bought online may be partially responsible. For a good few categories of consumer goods, such as furniture, musical instruments and luggage, for example, you’re likely to find a better deal and an item that will better fit your needs online. This happens in a matter of minutes, maybe a few hours of research tops, rather than combing town or making repeated weekly trips to your favorite local store to wait for the item you want. Consumer electronics in particular are experiencing tremendous growth, especially in either new or newly mainstream markets.
Online shopping in general is growing at an alarming rate, but according to analytics firm 1010Data, two spaces that have been around for some time but only went mainstream this year experienced incredible growth. Smartwatches saw a burst to the tune of 1,262 percent, while VR glasses, headsets and related gear jumped up 1,243%. Mind you, these numbers are only over the course of 2015 compared to 2014. Just like buying a new smartphone is a better experience online, the same can be said of other consumer electronics, especially fairly new hardware such as smartwatches and VR sets that you may not be able to just waltz into any pawn shop or Best Buy and have your pick of. Routers, drones and activity trackers also saw yearly growth of over 100 percent a pop, further signaling the shift in mainstream tech toward newer markets. Mobile car chargers saw 81 percent growth, possibly indicating consumer dissatisfaction with smartphone battery life in general. Laptops and sound accessories also grew, highlighting a curious shift back to the PC world from smartphone domination after a few years’ decline. In particular, Lenovo, Microsoft, Dell, HP and ASUS saw faster growth than e-commerce at large. Samsung and Apple also made the list, but PCs are far from their focus. If this continues, 2016 will be all about new markets.