When school and work moved online, potential consumers became a captive audience for online shopping.
From one poll conducted through this writer’s account on Instagram, about half of the respondents said they chose to save money during the COVID-19 crisis. However, 49% of students used this opportunity to take advantage of a wide variety of sales and discounts.
“I shopped more than I usually do simply because I was working and there were better deals during quarantine,” sophomore Mckenna Oliver said. “I also love shopping in general.”
Many companies have promoted sales on their websites in order to maintain the demand to shop in a difficult market. Madewell, for example, hosted a “secret stock sale,” discounting up to 70% during the summer months. Sales like this kept the market from becoming stagnant during a possibly financially straining year. Working students used this time to stock up while staying within their budget.
“I mostly did shopping at places like Kate Spade, Madewell and J.Crew — places I knew were having big sales,” Oliver said. “Those places are usually expensive and were having great deals.”
Through the same survey, almost 50% of respondents claimed Amazon as their go-to destination for shopping online. Other popular websites included Target, Athleta and Lululemon.
Many students also reported shopping at fast fashion sites, such as Shein, Romwe, Depop and others. However, other students, such as sophomore Emma Grace Steil, prefered thrifting online to remain environmentally conscious while sticking to a budget.
“I like shopping on Shein, but I also enjoy looking into brands that support good causes and are more sustainable, so I am trying to find more of those at the moment,” Steil said.
Junior Blake Stout said that after his internship expenses were paid for, he invested in things to keep him from getting restless while in quarantine.
“My total amount of shopping went up, and I think that is mostly because of boredom,” Stout said. “The things I bought were almost all entertainment-related.”
Stout is not the only one who went online as a source of entertainment. Many students reported online shopping as a way to relieve stress, with around 45% of survey respondents saying they had spent over $200 online.
Despite former habits, Steil said she noticed a shift in the way she shopped after being quarantined during the fall semester. She said that since school began, she had to consider other expenses before purchasing anything else.
“I think it has made me more conscientious of how I spend my money,” Steil said.