Online vs. In-store Shopping for Christmas

It’s the 1st of December and, without sounding like too much of a cliché, I can’t believe how quickly it’s come around. Naturally, Christmas sneaks up on me every single year. You’d think after 24 years of being alive that I’d have learnt to be at least somewhat prepared for Christmas by now. But this year I couldn’t be any further away from organised for the festive season. I admire those who get all there Christmas shopping done, dusted and wrapped before the end of November. I’m also convinced that elves must exist because surely there’s no other logical explanation for such festive organisation other than these people must have hired magic elves to help them to finish their Christmas shopping long before the 1st December.

So, whilst admitting how unprepared I always am for Christmas, how do I do my Christmas shopping? Am I a hit-one-shop-and-hope-for-the-best kind of girl or am I more of a buy-it-all-online-and-pray-it-comes-in-time girl? SwiftMoney recently did some research into online shopping vs. the high-street, inspiring me to take a long, hard look at my own shopping behaviours. With e-commerce booming over the last few years and social media taking the world by storm (yep, even including insta and it’s infuriating algorithm) I was quite surprised to find that the love for shopping online vs instore were almost evenly split. In fact, in-store shopping marginally took the lead by 8%!

Of course I love wandering into town, grabbing a hot drink and aimlessly meandering in and out of all the different stores as much as the next girl. But do you know what I love more? Wrapping myself up in a blanket, throwing on my comfiest lounge wear, clutching onto a heart-warming mug of tea and scrolling through all the online shops a girl can dream of, all from the comfort of my sofa.

When I was at University, between Consumer Psychology lectures and working shifts at River Island, I attended a guest-speaker lecture all about the death of the high street. Ever since that day, the question of whether the high street is dying or not has played on my mind more often that I’d have thought it would. And yet here I am, admitting that I’d rather stay home than pop into town to keep the high street afloat.

So, is the death of the high street imminent? I don’t think it is. The high street is simply evolving, molding itself to fit the new world. With an increase in pop-up shops, creative in-store experiences and in-store events, it’s clear that the high street had realised it needs to stay innovative to keep up with fast-paced, immediately gratifying online shopping. It’s more than just being a place to go buy new things, it’s a social activity. Going shopping can be a whole day out or even just a way to simply kill a couple of hours at the weekend.

Whenever I go shopping, I can’t help but touch or feel things I want to buy. I mean, surely I can’t be the only person who’ll gently graze my fingertips through a rail of clothes as I walk on by? There’s something about the physical experience of in-store shopping that’ll always win over online shopping. It’s also a surefire way to end up accidentally buying 1753 items you definitely didn’t need when you first walked into the store.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, I like to split my purchases between both online and in-store shopping. I’m a sucker for a unique gift or a personalised touch. For these kind of gifts, the internet is my saving grace. Through the powers of Google, there’s a whole world of independent artists, tiny shops and caring sellers just a click way. I love scrolling Etsy and NotOnTheHighstreet to find that perfect, unique gift for someone.

Another reason why I head online for my Christmas shopping is the abundance of discount codes. If there’s ever a time to be savvy with your spending, it’s at Christmas time. I’ve had an expensive couple of months due to house renovations and as a result, I’ll be fully embracing all the online discount codes I can find. There’s certain items that I likely won’t buy in-store, or at least, I’ll only buy them in store if I’m 100% certain I can’t get it cheaper online. That means any electronic purchases and sometimes even clothes will be put on hold until I’ve scoured the internet for a cheaper price. Damnit, I’ve even been inclined to do a quick internet search whilst stood in the shop just to make sure I’m getting the best deal. Oh the joys of not having an infinite amount of money in the bank!

But what makes me buy things in store? Impulse, risk and love at first (physical) sight. I’m probably not far off when I say that at least 85% of my in-store purchases are impulse ones. If I’m feeling uninspired for a gift, the best thing to do is to walk into a store and just wait for something to jump out at me. It’s no secret that if you go shopping with something in mind, you’ll likely never find it. So, go into that store with zero expectations and you’re bound to walk away with a shopping bag full of gifts.

Along with my love for unique gifts, I also love thoughtful ones. Making little hampers filled with the small but appreciated gifts are something that often can only be put together by visiting all of the shops and hand picking things yourself. On the flipside, I’m more likely to shop in-store for those larger items. The ones that are too risky to just buy online. Sometimes you just need to see something in person to be able to decide if you really want to buy it or not.

I absolutely love buying gifts for other people yet I’ve never been good at accepting gifts. I’d much rather spend my Christmas day watching everyone else open their presents and seeing the look of happiness or appreciation on their faces as they do. With that said, I don’t think I’ll ever be organised when it comes to my festive shopping. Whether I do my Christmas shopping online or in-store, I can promise you one thing and that’s that I’ll always leave it up until the week before Christmas day. So who wants to teach me the magic of being prepared for Christmas by doing all your Christmas shopping early?

To find out more about the differences between online and in-store shopping behaviours then check out the infographic below:


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