Over the years, how we spend our money has completely changed. Look around you, shops and shopping malls are becoming empty. However, our appetite for shopping remains unchanged. Here we will look at how you will most likely spend your cash in 2018.
End of an Era
Across America, beloved retail chains are closing their stores. Rising employee salaries and rental prices are only partly to blame. Online shopping and retailers are mainly to blame. Enticing us away from shopping malls and stores for the past ten years. Offering us cheaper prices, convenience and more choice than traditional stores. So much so that stores can no longer compete. In 2018, it was announced that beloved toy store Toys’R’Us will be closing down. Other retailers closing stores in the US include Abercrombie & Fitch, Claire’s, CVS and Payless. Many of these popular stores will focus on their online stores.
Online shopping first entered our lives in the early 90’s. Among the first on the scene were Amazon and eBay. Slow to take off, online shopping did not become prolific until around 2003. Around then PayPal was acquired by eBay. Competitors Amazon also began to make an appearance on the stock market. Shopping holiday Cyber Monday has also enjoyed huge online success. In 2017, US online shopping was worth over $400 billion dollars. Clothing, electronics, and white goods account are the biggest online sellers. No surprises then, that so many apparel brands are going out of business. Stores can just not compete at the same scale.
How are we paying for the stuff we buy?
Back in the glory days for shopping malls across America, we paid in cash. This was before credit and meant that debt levels were pretty low. Then came ‘plastic money’ debit/credit cards. More convenient than dealing with cash, America fell in love with using cards. On average American’s carry 2 credit cards and 1 debit card. Debit and credit cards also allowed us to shop online with relative ease. Many online retailers even allow card details to be saved, making checkouts faster.
Credit and debit cards are also used when shopping in person. Similarly, they also make the checkout process much faster. Although it means we can no longer get rid of our loose change. As of 2016, contactless payments have also come into effect. Contactless payments void the need to swipe and sign to initiate a payment. Money is then instantly taken from your account and given to the retailer.
Increased use of ‘card payment’ has led to higher debt levels across the US. According to the federal reserve America’s credit card debt has passed $1 trillion dollars.
E-wallets are an exclusively online payment method. Predominantly, e-wallets are used to easily send and receive money online. An example of a popular e-wallet is Ecopayz. Created around the early 2000’s, e-wallets have developed alongside online spending. How do they work? E-wallets are essentially pre-paid accounts. Meaning the operate similarly to debit cards rather than credit cards. This means users can only spend the money they physically have. Popular uses for e-wallets include paying for flights, shopping, and for online casino accounts. Another useful feature of e-wallets, is the ability to use multi-currencies. This means users can enjoy better rates and avoid fees.
Alexa, OK Google, and Cortana are some of the virtual assistants running our lives. Google’s Home assistant becoming the latest. Besides playing our favourite songs, virtual assistants can be used to make payments online. This is if you choose to link up your cards or bank account. Most recently Alexa linked with American Express to allow for payments. This means American Express card owners can ask their Alexa to buy their groceries, clothes or other items. Following on from this success tech giants Apple have followed suite. Creating ‘Apple Pay’, Apple users can pay for good via their smartwatches and iPhones.