Northwest Missourian Opinion

Although online shopping has become more popular, shopping by physically going to stores is more beneficial on both personal and economic levels.

In a society full of technology, 79% of Americans are now shopping online, according to the Pew Research Center. Still, 64% said they prefer the physical stores over online stores, all price and quality being equal.

Most people think it’s important to be able to try the product and ask questions about it before purchasing. Doing these things is easier in a physical store than an online platform.

Going out to shop has many benefits. Shopping malls can be especially valuable because there are more shops to explore, meaning the shopping trips are longer and the benefits are in effect for longer.

Medical Daily said a health benefit to shopping is exercise. A study done by a department store in the U.K. revealed that the average person can lose 400 calories from walking from store to store while carrying shopping bags.

Furthermore, women who shop more often have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other related health issues.

Shopping also helps with one’s mental health. Simply finding a good deal increases a person’s dopamine levels and makes them happier. Shopping is a socially interactive activity, and being with the right friend, partner or family member lowers one’s stress level, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

These experiences can only happen with person-to-person interaction, thus online shopping can’t provide these same benefits.

Certain businesses can’t compete with the cheaper prices of online stores, so many have closed their physical stores. Many of these are located in malls, so shopping malls are now a skeleton of what they used to be.

One example is the Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska. I spend quite a bit of time at this mall when I’m home during breaks. It was alarming to see how fast it had changed from winter break to spring break.

Sears was already closed while Payless Shoesource and Charlotte Russe were selling the last bit of their inventory. Last year, Teavana and Younkers disappeared. Most stores that close aren’t replaced with new ones, so there are just empty spaces.

Credit Suisse estimated 220-275 shopping centers would close from 2017 to 2022 as a result of store closures, according to an article on Business Insider.

When malls decline, the communities around the malls do too because of the loss of retail jobs and eventually tax revenue.

Shopping online can be cheaper and more convenient, but shopping in-store is more satisfying. It provides social interaction, and I don’t have to wait two days to receive the product.

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