Top 10 Benefits and Disadvantages of Online Shopping

Updated on May 4, 2020
Anamika S profile image

Anamika S. Jain is a social media consultant who also loves to shop online.

What are the best reasons to shop online instead of going to a store?
What are the best reasons to shop online instead of going to a store? | Source

Advantages of Online Shopping

The Internet has revolutionized the way we shop. Because of the numerous advantages and benefits, more and more people these days prefer buying things online over the conventional method of going into stores.

What are some reasons that many people love online shopping and why is it so popular? Below are my top ten reasons for shopping online.

Pros and Cons of Shopping Online

Advantages of Shopping Online
Disadvantages of Shopping Online
Negative Environmental Impact of Packaging and Gas
Better Prices
Shipping Problems and Delays
More Variety
Risk of Fraud
Easy to Send Gifts
Less Contact With Your Community
More Control
Spending Too Much Time Online
Easy Price Comparisons
Returns Can Be Complicated
No Crowds
You Don't Know Exactly What You're Getting
No Sales Pressure
Unfriendly, Scammy, or Complicated Websites
Access to Used or Damaged Inventory
No Sales Assistance
Privacy for Discreet Purchases
No Support for Local Retailers

10 Benefits of Shopping Online

  1. Convenience. Convenience is the biggest perk. Where else can you comfortably shop at midnight while in your pajamas? There are no lines to wait in or cashiers to track down to help you with your purchases, and you can do your shopping in minutes. Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24/7, and also reward us with a ‘no pollution’ shopping experience. There is no better place to buy informational products like e-books, which are available to you instantly, as soon as the payment goes through. Downloadable items purchased online eliminate the need for any kind of physical material at all, as well, which helps the environment!
  2. Better prices. Cheap deals and better prices are available online, because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it's easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well. Not only are prices better, but you can save on tax as well, since online shops are only required to collect a sales tax if they have a physical location in your state. Factor in the saved expense of gas and parking and you have saved yourself a lot of money!
  3. More variety. The choices online are amazing. You can find almost any brand or item you're looking for. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on airfare. You can shop from retailers in other parts of the state, country, or even world instead of being limited to your own geography. A far greater selection of colors and sizes than you will find locally are at your disposal. Plus, the stock is much more plentiful, so you'll always be able to find your size and color. Some online shops even accept orders for out-of-stock items and ship when they come in.
  4. You can send gifts more easily. Sending gifts to relatives and friends is easy, no matter where they are. All the packaging and shipping is done for you. Oftentimes, they'll even gift wrap it for you! Now, there is no need to make distance an excuse for not sending a gift on occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and so forth.
  5. More control. Many times, when we opt for conventional shopping, we tend to spend a lot more than planned and end up buying items that aren't exactly what we wanted (but we can't find anything better in the store). Online, you don't have to let the store's inventory dictate what you buy, and you can get exactly what you want and need.
  6. Easy price comparisons. Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. If you're shopping for appliances, for example, you can find consumer reviews and product comparisons for all the options on the market, with links to the best prices. We can research firsthand experience, ratings, and reviews for most products and retailers.
  7. No crowds. If you are like me, you hate crowds when you're shopping. Especially during holidays, festivals, or on weekends, they can be such a huge headache. Also, being crushed in the crowds of shoppers sometimes makes us feel rushed or hurried. You don't have to battle for a parking place. All of these problems can be avoided when you shop online.
  8. No pressure. Oftentimes when we're out shopping, we end up buying things that we don't really need, all because shopkeepers pressure us or use their selling skills to compel us to make these purchases.
  9. You can buy used or damaged items at lower prices. The marketplace on the Internet gives us access to listings of old or damaged items at rock bottom prices. Also, if we want to buy antiques, there's no better place to find great ones.
  10. Discreet purchases are easier. Some things are better done in the privacy of your home. Online shops are best for discreet purchases for things like adult toys, sexy lingerie, and so on. This enables me to purchase undergarments and lingerie without embarrassment or any paranoia that there are people watching or judging me.

Additional Benefits of Shopping Online

  • You get an electronic record of the receipt of your purchase, which makes record-keeping much easier.
  • You get to try things on in the comfort of your own home.
  • Sometimes, returns are easy.
  • It saves time!

What do you like best about online shopping?

See results

10 Disadvantages of Online Shopping

  1. Negative environmental impact of packaging and gas. Having your purchase packed in several layers of plastic and cardboard packaging and delivered right to your front door is good for you, but not so great for the environment. Even if you try to recycle the cardboard, you're creating unnecessary waste by shopping online.
  2. Shipping problems and delays. Even the biggest and best shipping companies and online retailers have their bad days, so there's no way to ensure that you'll get your hands on your purchase in time unless you pick it up from a store. Items get lost, detoured, damaged, or delivered to the wrong address more often than you can imagine.
  3. Risk of fraud. If you're shopping online, there's a larger risk of fraud: credit card scams, phishing, hacking, identity theft, counterfeit products, bogus websites, and other scams are common.
  4. Spending too much time online. Especially if your job requires that you look at a computer all day, you might get burnt out on all that screen time. Shopping online can turn into a marathon of scrolling and clicking down rabbit holes and before you know it, you've been online for most of the day. The internet is a nice place to visit, but you probably don't want to live there.
  5. Less contact with the community. If you do all your business online, you'll never have to leave your home. This might be great for a while but sometimes, you might want to go outside, breathe some fresh air, get a change of scenery, talk to real people, participate in your community, and just be a part of the crowd. Sometimes, a computer monitor can't compete with a real human connection.
  6. You don't know exactly what you're getting. Unless you are intimately familiar with a brand or product, buying online requires a leap of faith . . . one that doesn't always end in your favor. Sizes are often imprecise. You can't determine texture, fabric, fit, cut, quality, heft, or durability just by looking at a photo. Products that looked great might feel chintzy, awkward, or cheap when you hold them in your hands.
  7. Returns can be complicated. Some sellers make the process breezy, but many make it extra hard for you to return their merchandise or get a refund. Many times, you can't get reimbursed for any shipping costs. Labeling, packaging, shipping, tracking, and filling out all the proper forms is a hassle you can avoid if you buy in person (and if you hand-select your merchandise, you won't need to return things so often).
  8. Unfriendly, scammy, or complicated websites. Some sites require that you join their mailing list and make it impossible to unsubscribe. Some sell your email address to others, so your email is full of ads. Sometimes, sites don't offer good or accurate descriptions of the goods, or you just can't figure out how to purchase or return an item or speak to customer service.
  9. No sales assistance. In a store, there's usually someone to help you but online, you're on your own. If you're confused or have questions, it's just too bad for you. You might have to make blind purchases and mistakes you'll regret later because there was no one to talk to.
  10. No support for local retailers. If everyone started doing all their shopping online, all the local stores would go out of business. When all the stores in town are gone, we'll have to drive further and further away to shop at a real store. Many people and places have already experienced the negative and sometimes devastating impacts of e-commerce which take away jobs and devastate local economies.

Best and Worst Things to Buy Online

Things You Should Buy Online
Things You Should Buy In a Store
Electronics (new or refurbished)
Anything you can haggle for to get a better price
Medicine (cheaper and easier, especially when you're sick)
Medicine (watch out for online scams and expired or fake meds)
Clothing (if you know exactly what color, style, and size you want)
Clothing (when you want to touch, try on, and inspect)
Baby supplies (diapers, formula, food)
Anything that should be experienced first (mattresses, furniture, blankets, etc.)
Pet food (cheaper and easier, especially in bulk)
Really heavy items (with pricey shipping costs)
Books (if you know exactly what you want)
Books (if you want to browse, talk to the bookseller, and support your local bookstore so they don't go out of business)
A used car (cheaper and easier without a dealer, unless you need financing)
Anything you might need to return
Groceries (if you don't have time)
Groceries (if you like to choose what you eat and support your local growers and grocers)
Holiday Gifts (the gift wrapping, shipping, and convenience can't be beat)
Any product you haven't tried before (perfume, food items, cosmetics, etc.)
Art (sites like Etsy list original, beautiful art direct from the artist)
A pet (of course!)
Prescription or reading glasses (always cheaper and cuter online)
Real estate (of course!)

Questions to Ask When Shopping Online

When you are buying from online stores, make sure that you do the following:

  • Does the site value your privacy and confidentiality? Is their privacy policy available to read if you want to see it?
  • How long have they been in business? Do they have negative or positive reviews from customers?
  • If you’re unhappy with your purchase, do they have a refund policy?

What do you think?

Do the benefits of online shopping outweigh the disadvantages?

See results

© 2008 Anamika S Jain


Submit a Comment
  • Justclick shop profile image

    Justclick shop 

    2 years ago from iran

    It is so much easier to sit at home, find what we need it and then it's delivered to our front door.Online shopping makes it easy for us to compare sellers before buying. we can get more detail before making a decision to buy or not

  • Simicart profile image

    kane Simicart 

    4 years ago from USA

    Online Shopping is really convenient and saves time and effort for people.

    And today are turning to mobile users increasingly strong, and M-commerce has been and will be the inevitable trend of modern times.

    Purchasing via mobile really too convenient!

  • Rukh profile image


    5 years ago from Pakistan

    You will get cheap price, variety, comfort, best deal.

  • amazaving profile image


    5 years ago

    It's the convenience factor for me which makes online shopping so useful. That and the discounts you can find!

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    You are right guys online shopping is a very good way, because online shopping also helped me, in my Urgent shopping cases .

  • Daddy Paul profile image

    Daddy Paul 

    6 years ago from Michigan

    Yes save money shop online!

  • joym7 profile image


    7 years ago from United States

    Yes, online shopping is good. Now doing online shopping is become one of my hobby. You will get cheap price, variety, comfort, best deal. What else you want?

  • cablemanagements profile image

    S K Sinha 

    7 years ago from India

    I agree to u.... but in today's era everyone is having busy schedule.... so to find out some time from that schedule for shopping is not very easy... so i prefer online shopping because it saves my time and at the mean time provides me great options and a lot of varieties for a particular thing or goods i want to shop for...

  • bulkmarketplaza profile image


    7 years ago

    i also prefer online shopping its very convenient

  • OBrien26 profile image


    7 years ago

    So true. Shopping online is a god sent to those who aren't big fans of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. I agree with you. I don't know what I would do without the internet because I do all of my shopping from clothing, to car parts, to exercise equipment, to even supplements. It's like having the world's largest menu for you to choose from.

  • Qurbani profile image


    7 years ago

    Internet has totally changed the way we do our Purchasing. Because of the several Advantages and Advantages of Purchasing On the internet more and more people nowadays choose On the internet Purchasing over traditional shopping.

  • talfonso profile image


    7 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

    This is very useful! I buy what other stores in my area don't have online. Speaking of local, it can help you save more on shipping and handling.

  • monicamelendez profile image


    7 years ago from Salt Lake City

    I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon and I completely love it. Things are almost always a lot cheaper on there than they are where I live and it's so much more convenient.

  • profile image

    Yolanda Gonzalez 

    8 years ago

    Obvious and Concise . I will look more of your post.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Online shopping has provided an amazing way to grab your desired products on discounted price tag...........

  • tipstoretireearly profile image


    8 years ago from New York

    My favorite advantage of online shopping are the customer reviews and specifications. It's a great way to find the right product, especially for electronics where its impossible to actually "see" what you're buying at a physical store since the important parts of the product are hidden inside the case.

  • precy anza profile image

    precy anza 

    8 years ago from USA

    That's why I prefer shopping online, specially with free shipping. And in the list, my favorite reason would be number 6, comparison of prices. And before I decide to buy something I always read reviews first. Awesome hub! Voted up! :)

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    shopping online is my hobby. I don't have to spend extra charges on fares. I like it as everything is available with just a click of my fingertip.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Can I know more about why can get better prices by online shopping?

  • profile image

    Nalinie Abeyasinghe 

    8 years ago

    I like online shopping.Because my timetable is very busy.some items very easy and convenience for apply in online.Shopping online can be better for life. bigger variety or number of international apply so fast.I send some gift item online shopping two weeks online shopping make comparison and research and prices very possible.

  • incomeguru profile image

    Oyewole Folarin 

    8 years ago from Lagos

    The benefits of online shopping should not be undermined. Apart from convenience attached to this, it's cost saving for those that know how to get the best deal online.

  • radhikasree profile image

    Radhika Sreekanth 

    8 years ago from Mumbai,India

    I too prefer online shopping to conventional shopping. One main advantage I've seen with online shopping is that you get the right product of your choice. If you go to shops, you'll end up buying with salesmen's choice, not yours. Nice hub. Voted up as useful.

    Sharing with my friends here.

  • smiileyfacexo profile image

    8 years ago from New Zealand

    That's so true. I also prefer online shopping. Thanks for this hub.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hi.. I must thank you for excellent information.. I am a fellow writer like you.. I got some valuable information from your article.. as we all do.. But unlike other i prefer to thank the information's source if possible. Thanks of your information.. Bye..

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    this article helped me quite a lot in my assignment.....

  • lex123 profile image


    8 years ago

    You have rightly mentioned all the benefits of online shopping. However, I will add one more thing - preferably shop from your own computer, and avoid a public computer for online shopping, for the sake of security.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Yah, online shopping was always been a great experience to me too. But I am curious to know, what is the stuff that majority of them love to buy online?

  • how-to-make profile image


    8 years ago from India

    ultimate hub. You have covered allmost all parts of online shopping benefits in this hub. I like it.

  • maxravi profile image

    Ravi Singh 

    8 years ago from India

    Thanks for the hub.but still there are some items you can't buy online like shoes, even some dress as you want to get a trial of that.In online shopping returning item and ask for refund is a long process.what you think?

  • profile image

    Jeanne Chinn 

    8 years ago

    I love online shopping because my dog is not allowed in a lot of stores, even though he is well behaved. I hate crowds and lines too. Holiday shopping is stress free this way and if you're worried about using your credit card online, you can get a pre-paid credit card to eliminate that worry.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    hi Anamika, i totally agree with your article. I want to ask u something more about the on-line shopping in India!! what do u think about it??!! which type of Indian people are actually using online sites to buy on sites like or can u give me some advices about it. Im writing a thesis about it and all your suggestions can be helpful for me. Thanks

  • wanderlust9 profile image


    8 years ago

    Better prices is one of the main reasons that online shopping has taken off. The simple fact that the middle men are cut out of the delivery chain leads to a reduction in the cost and thus the final price of the product.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I completely understand. Thank you so much.

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    @Tiara This article was first published on 17/10/2008. This is a copyrighted article and you are not allowed to republish it but You may link to my hub here.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hello Anamika! I am writing a compare and contrast paper about shopping online. I wanted to use some of your ideas and I need to in text cite. I was wondering if you could tell me when this article was first posted.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Your post completely describes the good things of online shopping. And I cannot agree more. Online shopping is indeed convenient and hassle free. In India more and more people are shopping online each day. And they are reaping the benefits as well. Some websites are also offering online shopping of grocery products – which I think is a leap forward from the typical online selling. In the future, I am sure to find more online sellers online!

  • profile image

    Marketing strategy 

    8 years ago

    Great post! I am impressed with the article and thanks very much for sharing good information.

  • susannah42 profile image


    8 years ago from Florida

    Since I started shopping online, I never go into a store. It is so much easier to sit at home, find my size, color and style and then it's delivered to my front door.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Its really awesome do online shopping!!!!!!!!

  • profile image


    8 years ago


    There is no comments from Anamika, just missing her.

  • profile image

    shopping online 

    8 years ago

    With online shopping, you, the consumer will benefit greatly from this endless battle of retailers. Everyone is always looking for a great deal, online shopping can provide all this. Another excellent example of the advantage of saving money is called "single line". These are the deals that are generally offered by retailers, also have an online sales structure. The advantage is that they often offer great discounts and savings only for those who purchase specific products online.

  • mindyjgirl profile image

    Mindy Bench 

    8 years ago from Oregon

    Awesome Hub! I love to shop! Never really thought about writing a story on it :)

  • john2000 profile image


    8 years ago

    Really nice post. I prefer online shopping.

  • MarloByDesign profile image


    9 years ago from United States

    Great hub, but I am surprised you do not mention online coupons codes.

  • profile image

    Eleanor Maw 

    9 years ago

    I used to like going shopping in town, but nowadays the car park charges are so high that it puts me off, I found I love shopping online as I don't have to put up with shop assistance coming up to me asking me what am I looking for, if I want their assistance I would ask, with online shopping I can look at what they have to offer with out some twat in a blue shirt not letting me look around in peace.

  • shopper-guide profile image


    9 years ago from US-Thailand

    Great point - I love online shopping which make easy for me to compare seller before buy it. Good for buyer when they need to get more stuff detail before make decision to buy or not.. Compare and Review -- that's the thing I love when need to buy sometimg online..

  • ratnaveera profile image


    9 years ago from Cumbum

    Great plus points of Online Shopping! This Hub would be helpful to get rid of unnecessary fears about online shopping! Thanks Anamika S! BEAUTIFUL HUB!

  • couponcharlie profile image


    9 years ago from New York, NY

    Shopping online is so much more convenient that messing with the crowds in the store. Those that are concerned with using their credit card at multiple different sites can get prepaid gift cards to spend on the web and in store. Many companies also offer free shipping for large purchases.

  • profile image

    Vino M 

    9 years ago

    As online shopping gains momentum more and more benefits continue to emerge such as environmental and benefits for the elderly and those disabled.

  • shaekelly profile image


    9 years ago from Alabama

    I Absolutely adore this hub because I so can relate to it. I love to shop online it is a captivating experience and what I love the most is the privacy of the matter, u know how u may have a main event to attend , and everyone is trying to figure out what your wearing; online shopping is a more secure way in keeping your shopping private. Keep up the good work and please follow me I am definitely following u and feel free to leave some constructive criticism or advice.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Nice work. I might link to you hub at some point. Really highlights why online shopping is so great (and why I'm addicted) :D

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Totally agreed. Online shopping will become a necessity for most of the people in the world. You can just easily company price, features, function and get the latest updates of any products just by your mouse!!

  • Seakay profile image


    9 years ago from Florida

    Yes, online shopping is the best! I do all my Christmas shopping online. Love it!

  • john000 profile image

    John R Wilsdon 

    9 years ago from Superior, Arizona

    Well done.

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    10 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Kif4yas: I am happy that you found the article useful. You can use gift cards and debit cards to shop online too apart from bank transfers, paypal etc.

  • Kif4yas profile image


    10 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Its very interesting to read your hubs. I have never shopped online due to many reasons, first of all i dont have credit card as i have a low income. I always thought shopping online was risky I heard the sites drain the credit card. You made it very simple for shopping online with this hub. I dont know if I will be able to shop, but I have some knowledge. Thank you very much for this Hub.

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    10 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Thanks for the Comments websitesecurity and katrinasui.

  • katrinasui profile image


    10 years ago

    Nice hub. It is definitely better than mine...

  • websitesecurity profile image


    11 years ago from Utah

    I totally agree with you! I love shopping online. It's just so much easier than lugging my daughter around with me and you can find great deals just about everywhere that make up for the shipping and handling fees. One thing that I do look for when I shop online is secure sights. It's important to make sure these sights are keeping our information safe!

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    11 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Thanks for the comments and support Sally.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    11 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Nice Hub! I hate to shop, and online shopping has saved myself and my friends and family from going without. If it weren't for Staples, Amazon, eBay, and a wonderful selection of smaller internet sellers, I wouldn't buy anything. Yup, jammies for me.

    Thumbs up!

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    11 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Thanks for the comments Nimesh. I remember you telling me that while chatting.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    It's true that onine shoping save time and give much comfort.

    I do online shoping very frequently and very much happy with it....

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    11 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Thanks Lisa for your comment. I have bought a lot of things online including ebooks, gemstone jewelry and dresses. But i was not disappointed either.

  • LisaG profile image


    11 years ago from Caribbean

    It's very true that you find items cheaper online than in a retail store. I have shopped online several times and have not been disappointed. Great hub.

  • Anamika S profile imageAUTHOR

    Anamika S Jain 

    11 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

    Thanks for your Comments.

  • profile image

    Subhashis Chakrabarty 

    11 years ago

    true ideas n thoughts! nice to go through! thanks!


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