RIYADH: Under normal circumstances most people do not give much thought to online shopping. However, with the closure of malls and shops because of coronavirus curbs, online shopping has become essential. But are people going overboard?
Many people are buying unnecessary items, such as clothes, bags and shoes, online despite knowing that they will have no use for these items during the pandemic. It seems that through online shopping they are seeking some kind of mental satisfaction or emotional release during house quarantine or self-isolation.
According to Rana Taha, a coach in school planning and management, shoppers who admit to buying unnecessary items online “are trying to break their routine of being quarantined.”
Deema Al-Tammami, an event planner, said: “Online shopping has increased by 100 percent during quarantine. For me, nothing sounds as much fun as online shopping these days.
“Most of our purchases are home appliances because we love to change things around, renovate, and reorder and organize our homes, which helps to relax and release stress,” she said.
“Online prices are significantly lower than normal shopping in stores,” she said.
Al-Tammami said that online shopping offers the pleasure of choosing an item with care, reading the reviews and tracking the shipment.
“There is a kind of enthusiasm in it that is totally different from normal shopping.”
Amazon has even hired extra staff to keep up with worldwide demand and plans to take on an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers through April, according to media reports.
However, some who were accustomed to shopping online before the pandemic are avoiding the problem of “going overboard” with excessive
Alanood Al-Alsheikh, a government employee, said that she did 90 percent of her shopping online.
“I usually buy everything — clothes, creams, bags and house supplies — but I always buy from websites that I trust. Pharmaceutical products are much cheaper from international online websites than local ones. And, lately, I have been doing some grocery shopping online, too.
“I don’t know how much I spend online shopping these days, but it’s less than before the quarantine. Now I’m not buying clothes and bags, only creams and beauty products,” Al-Alsheikh said.
Al-Tammami said that she sees little difference in the amount of money being spent online compared with shopping from stores.
“The money we used to spend on restaurants and outdoor activities we are now spending on grocery shopping and games to play at home,” she said.
Maha Al-Nufaiei, a senior analyst, used to shop online before the pandemic, but said that she has stopped because “sanitization of packages is not guaranteed and countries are stealing from each other’s medical supplies.”
“I only shop from local websites,” she said.
Munirah Al-Ajlan, a standardization analyst, said that online shopping has advantages, such as saving time by using filters. “But it certainly has some flaws — usually the shipping might take longer.”
Defective or poorly fitting items also can be hard to return. “I usually don’t send them back and they become useless,” Al-Ajlan said.