Do you know that 49.6% of the world’s population are internet users? That’s according to the World Internet Users and 2017 Population Stats! A staggering 3.73 billion people and counting are using the internet for pleasure, education, entertainment or business, and even online shopping.
The internet made doing business and purchasing a lot easier for people. Online shopping and ecommerce is a huge multi-trillion industry and is expected to grow by $27 trillion in 2020.
Ecommerce became possible in 1991 when the internet was opened to commercial use. Three years after that, online shopping became a reality, with Amazon.com and eBay launching their online shopping sites 12 months later.
A GENERATION OF ONLINE SHOPPERS
Eight in 10 Americans are now shopping online, according to a new study from Pew Research. Over half (51 percent) have also bought something from their mobile phone, and 15 percent purchased after clicking through on a link shared on social media.
Two thirds of internet users in the European Union shopped online in 2016.
Recent statistics have shown that 50% of the entire world’s internet users reside in Asia. With an increasing number of people in Asia using smart phones and mobile devices to make online purchases, an astonishing 50% of all consumers in Asia-Pacific actually make transactions using their mobile devices. These figures are only expected to increase over the next decade.
In America, 67% of Millennials shop online, spending about 6 hours per week online! Generation X follows with 56%.
People will continue to spend their hard earned money online. US ecommerce sales are predicted to grow from $263 billion in 2013 to $414 billion next year.
NOT AT ALL NICE AND COZY SHOPPING
CNBC News reported citing a study from Javelin Strategy and Research that about 15.4 million American consumers in 2016 were victims of identity theft or fraud – for transactions made online. Identity theft and fraud cost American consumers $16 billion, nearly one billion more than in 2015.
E-commerce fraud cost retailers $32 billion in 2014 , prompting retailers to spend on cyber insurance. Marsh statistics found that the U.S. cyber insurance market totalled more than $2 billion in gross written premiums in 2014, with some estimates suggesting it has the potential to grow to $5 billion by 2018 and $7.5 billion by 2020.
AVOID THESE ONLINE SHOPPING PITFALLS
Although is it alarming with the rising rate and cost of online identity theft and fraud, you can avoid falling victim into the hands of online shenanigans.
You can continue to enjoy your online shopping experience by avoiding these simple pitfalls whenever you go online shopping.
1. BUYING ON IMPULSE.
The National Endowment for Financial Education, or NEFE, estimates that, in a typical month, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults buy something on impulse. These unplanned purchases often lead to regret. NEFE says shoppers regret impulse purchases 71 percent of the time. Most regretted were clothing and shoes, followed by toys for children, technology products and home decor.
Whenever you feel the urge to buy something online, consider the following steps to help you curb the desire.
- Ask yourself the question “Do I need it or do I want it?”You have to be honest with yourself. Is it really important that you need it? Can you get by without it? How often are you going to use it?Of course, don’t try to convince yourself that there’s a need for you to buy it. Just because you like something doesn’t mean you need it.Take children’s toys for instance. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
According to Forbes, the average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine.
Do you know that 20% of the average household grocery bill comes from items that were purchased on impulse alone? Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods – in other words, items they do not need.
- The next questions you need to ask yourself are “Can I afford it?” and “Who paying for it?”If you don’t have the current financial capacity to purchase the item you’ve determined to be a need, skip the purchase. Think long term. You don’t want to put yourself or your family in a deep financial quagmire later on and suffer getting broke because of mounting unpaid bills due to unnecessary purchases.Don’t make the mistake of seeking immediate but fleeting gratification. It will do you more harm than good.
2. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE OFFERS
Be very careful when you encounter too good to be true offers. Remember that there’s always a catch for these kinds of offers. There are plenty of scams looking to hook you in with tempting offers. In some cases, the perpetrators are looking to simply infect your device.
Be extra careful during holiday seasons, like Christmas, where there does tend to be a lot of amazing and genuine offers.
Remember that these kinds of offers can sometimes trigger the urge to buy on impulse, thinking that this is a chance you don’t want to miss.
Any e-store that promises too much at too low a price is suspicious. So, stick with trusted brands that have a strong reputation.
3. USING PUBLIC WIFI
Public Wi-Fi is unquestionably something we as consumers now expect. From shops to cafes to restaurants, being able to access the internet with little or no cost is in tune with our connected way of living.
However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that are associated with this service.
Making any financial transactions when using a public network can lead to your financial information and passwords beings compromised.
It’s more secured to shop online using your own network at home where your firewall is on and you have an encrypted network. 95% of public Wi-Fi hotspots are not encrypted – an ideal place for cybercriminals.
Remember that shopping online is not all about convenience. You have to strongly consider your security. Be sure to use a strong password in your network.
4. UNSECURED ONLINE STORES
Never ever buy anything online using your credit from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure socket layer) encryption installed – at the very least.
You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with https:// (instead of just http://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
5. UNCLEAR RETURN AND GUARANTEE POLICIES
This is one area many neglect doing – checking the return and guarantee policies.
Since you have no idea of product’s quality until you hold it in your hands, returning things bought online is quite common. So it’s important to go through the return policy while making a purchase.
Stay away from sites that have vague return policies that can leave you with a low-quality product and no way to return it. The same applies for guarantees. If there is no clear policy for the product, you are guaranteed not to have a replacement if you receive a damaged product.
Make it a habit to understand the purchase and the shipping terms. Take the time to read especially the fine print. People usually brush off the fine print. But in reality not reading the small print can mean big problems.
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE
Taking the steps to protect yourself when shopping online by avoiding these pitfalls we’ve discussed will help you shop with confidence. It will help you enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online.
So be a safe and secure shopper now. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.