I was never an online shopping kind of gal.

For me, shopping was all about the experience. I loved going with my girlfriends or my sisters, getting lunch, and making a day out of it. I used to be so against online shopping. Why would you risk buying something, only to find your purchase A.) Doesn’t fit; B.) Gets lost in the mail; or C.) Isn’t at ALL what you expected it to be? And not to mention the hassle of returning that purchase online.

However, I will admit, the concept of online shopping is growing on me.

It will come no surprise to you that online shopping has drastically increased throughout the years. According to Forrester Research Online Retail Forecast, Americans spent $176 billion on E-Commerce, and are projected to spend $279 billion at the end of 2015. Because of the increase in aggressive marketing efforts and the convenience, more and more people are turning to getting their shopping done online.

Right now, I’m about half way done with my Christmas shopping, and this is the most I’ve ever ordered online. I have to admit, I was very pleased with the experience! I live in a rural small town about half an hour north of Green Bay, which is the nearest shopping mall. Let me tell ya- it can be a HUGE pain to drive to get my work done. What’s even more aggravating is if I make the trip down and can’t even find what I’m looking for. Doing my shopping online recently has been stress-free and SO easy.

I must say I’m very disappointed in those stores that are opening up Thanksgiving night. Even my beloved Target is opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving. Whatever happened to getting up at 3am to wait in line for the doors opening at 4am on Black Friday? Back then, the Black Friday experience was actually FUN. Now, it’s not so much because all of the good deals are picked over on Thanksgiving night. I say we boycott shopping all together until Friday.

SMH, America.

I decided to weigh pros and cons of both.

ONLINE SHOPPING

Pros:
-Convenience of not leaving home
-Getting packages…it’s so fun!
-Saving gas
-Skipping crowds
-Using special promo codes offered online only
-You can compare prices and varieties

Cons:
-Shipping fees
-Not being able to try clothes on
-Returns and exchanges may be a hassle
-Risk of poor quality
-Risk of higher compulsive shopping

IN-STORE SHOPPING

Pros:
-The joyful holiday experience
-Getting to see how clothes physically fit
-Spending time with friends/family
-No shipping costs
-You know exactly what you’re getting

Cons:
-Time spent driving to stores
-Having to shower (seriously)
-Gas spent driving to store
-Crowds

What research has found:

-Overall, satisfaction with online shopping is high, at 83 percent.
-Eighty-four percent of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip.
– Seventy-two percent of Millennials research and shop their options online before going to a store or the mall.
-Two-thirds of Americans 50-plus buy from e-retailers online.
-You’re more likely to spend money shopping online with a tablet. Why? Tablet owners tend to be wealthier, which gives retailers a self-selected audience of their best customers.

I decided to ask around and get other opinions.

Online shopping vs. in-store shopping: Which do you prefer and why?
Here’s what some of y’all had to say:

“Definitely in-store. I like seeing what I’m getting, and it’s more fun!” -Jodi

“Online shopping. I can relax in my PJs watching a good movie; no one can see that my hair is a mess and I have no makeup on. No crowds to fight and I don’t’ need to waste money on gas. What’s not to love!!”Michelle

“I prefer in-store shopping myself, because it helps to be able to feel the fabric of the clothes, and you can see how high quality it is in person rather than guessing online. I also like to try things on in the store to get the most flattering fit, whereas online it’s either a hit or a miss. Plus half the fun of new clothes is to go shopping for them!” –Kaylie

“I prefer in-store shopping. I like physically trying on clothes and getting a feel of how they look and fit on me.” -Chloe

“I used to love in-store shopping, but with the holiday season starting sooner and getting busier, I would rather avoid the crowds and shop online. Plus a lot of companies offer free shipping and returns, so it’s a no brainer for me! – Amanda, http://www.blissfulgal.com

“I love to read reviews online but I always buy in-store if I can because I love instant gratification and hate paying for shipping/waiting for the mail to come! I’m so impatient!”
-Chelsie, http://www.lifewithrosieblog.com

“If it’s clothes shopping, I prefer in store to try them on because you never know what looks good on you until you do so. For everything else, online shopping because you can compare prices on different sites and find promo codes…and when you’re crunched for time it’s more efficient.” -Abigail

“Currently I am an online shopper. As someone who lives 35 minutes in every direction from any major store, I need another way to get our needs and wants met. My family currently have subscribe and save items from Amazon that deliver some of our favorite grocery products to our house. I also get my make up and clothes online too.”
-Sarah, http://kovescenceofthemind.blogspot.com/

“I prefer online shopping for almost everything. I’m not at all about fighting people to get deals when I can access them from the comfort of my couch!”
-Svetlana, http://www.lifewithasideofwine.com

“Shopping online allows me to stay close to family. Bonus retail employees get more time with theirs too.” -Michelle, http://Www.bloomingwithjoy.com

“Online shopping is the best! You have to find free shipping though! But shopping in your PJs…. Nothing is better than that! -Kara, http://www.theknightsplace.com

“I enjoy online shopping because I love helping out small businesses. Most of the time, I’ve found that small businesses provide better quality and customer service.”
-Kaycee, www.emeraldlifeblog.com

“I shop mostly online BUT I’m a huge shop local and support small business girl. Bought a few gifts on etsy tonight.” -Mindi, http://www.backrowfaith.com

“Definitely online! Mainly Amazon. And, I use ebates to get cash back!” -Caroline,
http://www.in-due-time.com

“I prefer online shopping because I can always find really unique and special items a lot faster and for better prices. I always find things that I never would have found if shopping in person, which makes the gift giving more exciting for me!” -Jessie, LifeAbundant-Blog.com

“I’m torn between both! Online shopping can be great because of the deals but I feel like when I’m in the store in less compulsive so I end up saving money.” -Carlee, http://www.abloginbaltimore.blogspot.cpm

“A little of both for me. The crowds really get to me, but I do enjoy shopping at small local businesses here in Nashville. Some stuff for my kids I order online though, because there’s nothing charming about walking into GameStop.”
-Kristin, http://www.surelygoodness.website

“The only things I don’t like buying online are clothes or food. I’m very texture sensitive so I have to be able to feel clothes before I buy them and I find it frustrating trying to get food online.” -Kaitlin

“In-store during the non-peak times. I like to touch and see what I’m getting. I enjoy the experience.” –Jennifer

Whatever you decide, there is no right or wrong decision. I am personally thankful that we have the option of shopping both in-store and online. For me, it all depends on how I’m feeling and what I’m shopping for.

So now it’s your turn. Leave me a comment below. Do you prefer online shopping or in-store shopping? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday?

Sources:
http://www.cmo.com/articles/2014/5/6/Mind_Blowing_Stats_Online_Shopping.ht
http://business.time.com/2011/09/29/warning-youre-likely-to-spend-more-shopping-online-with-a-tablet/