Trends in consumer spending have recently changed. While it used to be that local purchases or spending was a requirement (unless when traveling), the growth of the internet has changed everything. The announcement of Facebook IPO is only an indicator of the major changes that have happened to U.S. society over the past 20 years. Because of the structure of the internet and the ability to effectively scale online businesses through internet marketing, the economy is continuously changing.
Increased Consumer Purchases
Recent years have seen consumers spending more money online than ever before. With the growth of online businesses like Amazon, consumers are able to receive the same quality product for less money. Businesses often feature free shipping promotions or other voucher codes to encourage online purchases because of the lower overhead costs. Instead of having to pay an employee (or multiple employees) to manage a physical store, businesses can manage everything online and reduce costs.
Increased Number of New Jobs
Many people suggest that the internet is ruining the economy. That the shift towards an online economy is taking away the jobs that we once had. After all, the ‘mom and pop’ stores, which exemplify American capitalism, are becoming fewer and far between. The core of this economy is changing and becoming more dependent on technology. Technology may be replacing many of the jobs that we once knew to be common, but it is also creating more jobs than ever before.
While the shift in the economy has meant the end of certain jobs, it also means the creation of new jobs. There are more positions that allow people to work remotely than ever before. While this offers flexibility and more employment opportunities for individuals (like stay at home parents), it also means a larger gap between the rich and poor. Because companies can literally have anyone from around the world fill these positions, it means lower wages for the entry-level positions and more profit for the high executives. This shift towards the online market has been one of the major reasons for the decrease of the middle class.
While it is hard to simplify the effect of the ever-changing technology to a simple for or against, it is clear that the negative consequences overshadow the positive. The greed and resulting abuse of increased efficiency taint the potential benefits of this global phenomenon. The internet may offer cheaper products to consumers of the U.S. and more job opportunities/flexibility, but at what costs? If we are honest with ourselves, it is hard to overlook the negative consequences that accompany the advancement of the internet.