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Go gift shopping in person

Mary Wolters / The SPOKE

By Abby Bagby, Co-Managing Editor

The holiday season carries a special kind of magic — one that we all know and love. Filled with red, green and upbeat Christmas music, this time of year offers nostalgia unlike any other. For many, the annual practice of holiday gift shopping was an essential component of this tradition-filled time.

However, this practice is dwindling, in large part due to the exponential growth of online shopping. A 2023 study by the Statista Research Department showed that more than  75% of the nation’s consumers have shopped for items online. Moreover, retail e-commerce sales are forecast to grow by nearly 11% in the U.S. and worldwide by 2027.

Here’s the thing: Online shopping is more convenient. What could be easier than taking a look at your friend’s Amazon wish list, choosing a product and having it shipped to their doorstep within a few days? With a few quick scrolls and taps of the thumb, a process that used to take a day or even more is now shortened to mere minutes.

While the online shopping experience is unmatched in convenience, it does have several shortcomings. Consumers are far less inclined to support small businesses when they go straight to Google for their gift shopping. A 2021 report by the University of Minnesota detailed that local shopping at independent retailers generates more revenue for those businesses as well as jobs within the area, bolstering the local economy.

Places like the King of Prussia mall and local shopping centers such as Gateway and Paoli are home to many small businesses, which would otherwise have few opportunities to market and sell their products. Although it may be easier to shop via large-scale, corporate websites, let’s not exclude small businesses, many of which are operated by members of our own community, from our shopping lists.

In addition, there are many aspects of the in-store shopping experience that are simply lost when consumers take to online alternatives. Shopping, especially amidst the seasonal decorations and cheerful music of the holidays, is a social experience for many. It offers an opportunity to bond with family and friends in a festive environment, rather than making purchases from a phone or laptop.

Buying in person also makes gift-giving far more personal. Traveling to a store, seeing and feeling the various products in front of you, and having the opportunity to speak with a store employee all contribute to a more thoughtful, meaningful gift.

In a fast-paced world that is constantly swapping tradition for convenience, the transition by many to online shopping over in-person shopping is understandable. But before you make your purchases on Amazon, consider making the trip to King of Prussia and small local shops this holiday season.

Abby Bagby can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Abby Bagby, Co-Managing Editor
Abigail Bagby is a senior and the Co-Managing Editor of The Spoke. She has previously served as a Sports Editor and the T/E Life Editor. In addition to her work for The Spoke, she enjoys playing competitive squash, serving as captain of Conestoga's girls' squash team, as well as leading the school's Pillboxes for Patients club and engaging in the Annenberg Symposium. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her community, going to Eagles games and running with friends.