Poll Shows that Online Shopping More Popular, Hurting Retail Jobs

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More Americans Prefer to Shop Online, which Hurts Traditional Retail

A new study carried out by the consulting firm Walker Sands Communications has found that an increasing number of Americans are now choosing to shop online. The study, titled “The Future of Retail 2017,” included the findings of a poll that sought responses from 1,600 U.S. consumers.

The poll showed that about one-third of American consumers purchase something online via their computers or phones at least once a week. This could include anything from an electronic device to grocery and prescription drug refills. In contrast, only about 21% of Americans were shopping online back in 2013.

The study also found that the number of Americans who entirely avoided online shopping has shrunk over the last few years. Only four percent of the Americans surveyed say they avoid online deliveries altogether.

Technology has played the biggest role in the evolution of retail. The most significant technological developments that have disrupted traditional retail include the widespread usage of smartphones and the ease of self-serve checkouts.

This has caused thousands of retail jobs to vanish over the years, with the number of job losses growing every passing day.

This year alone, more than 5,300 retail stores have closed, which is triple the number seen last year. Credit Suisse Group AG analysts predict that the number of store closings by the end of this year could surpass the number of closures witnessed through the Great Recession.

In just five years (2013–2017), about 64,000 jobs are estimated to have been lost in apparel retail alone. Major clothing and footwear retailers—including BCBG Max Azria Group, LLC, The Limited, Wet Seal IP Holdings, LLC, The Gymboree Corporation, Payless ShoeSource, Inc., and rue21, inc.—are a few of the companies that went bankrupt, closed hundreds of stores across the country, and laid off thousands of workers in the past year

In addition, department stores and retailers of general merchandise are also seeing a significant decline in their business, following which many have decided to close down underperforming stores.

Big names like Sears Holdings Corp, Macy’s Inc, and J C Penney Company Inc have jointly announced hundreds of store closures this year. In just the first six months of 2017, around 31,000 retail jobs have vanished following these store closings.

Technology is expected to continue to disrupt American retail, and Amazon.com, Inc. has emerged as an invincible force in digital retail.

Sources

The Future of Retail 2017,” Walker Sands Communications, last accessed July 17, 2017.

We’re starting to shop online as often as we take out the trash,” The Washington Post, July 13, 2017.

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