Online shopping vs. in-store shopping: which is better? #shopping #holidays

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 vs. in-store shopping: which is better? #shopping #holidays

-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

-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


Online shopping vs. in-store shopping: which is better? #shopping #holidays

-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

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

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,

“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!”

“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.”

“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!”

“Shopping online allows me to stay close to family. Bonus retail employees get more time with theirs too.” -Michelle,

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

“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.”

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

“Definitely online! Mainly Amazon. And, I use ebates to get cash back!” -Caroline,

“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,

“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.”

“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

Online shopping vs. in-store shopping: which is better? #shopping #holidays

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?



  • I prefer in-store shopping for sure–I hardly ever shop online, only if I absolutely can’t find that item in stores near me. I do enjoy Black Friday shopping in the wee hours of the Friday morning, but there’s no such thing as Black Friday for me ever since I decided to move to the other side of the globe.

    • Where do you live again, Rachel?!

      • Last Thanksgiving I was living in China, this year I’m in Malaysia–hopefully to stay for a good long while. :)

  • Though I have never really liked shopping, I think I still prefer shopping in the store, because you get to feel excited when you find it physically sitting on the shelf, verses floating around in cyber space. lol.

    • I agree with you! That excitement and thrill of shopping is so fun!

  • I love online shopping! I tend to shop only where they have free exchanges and returns, so when I do shop at a place without free exchanges/returns it really changes the way I buy. I’m so much more cautious.

    • Good for you for being smart, girl!

  • I used to be an in-store shopper, but with a baby + one on the way, I’ve become more of an online shopper. I have found that in-store items are marked down WAY more than online (even though the online version pushes more sales) for the same item. It’s a little crazy. Unless it’s an item I have to have at that moment, I usually compare prices before I make the purchase.

    • I’m happy to hear that you compare prices and make an educated purchase! :) I need to be more like you-haha!

  • Sara Strand

    I am very much pro in store shopper because I like to have the thing in my hand RIGHT NOW. This year though, I’m finding it hard to get out with two big kids and a baby so I’ve done a lot of online shopping, and done it early because I had really good online only coupons.

    • I can totally see how online shopping would be for you with a baby!

  • Shann Eva

    I never used to Online shop, but I’ve grown to really like it over the years. However, I still love going out on Black friday. I guess it’s more for the tradition of it.

    • Same here, Shann! I think it’s just so fun!!

  • Paige Allison

    Girl, you think Black Friday is a joyful experience?! You cray cray! It’s madness. I will be sleeping in (as much as my toddler lets me – so until about 6am) and then slowly drinking coffee and coming to terms with everything I ate the day before. THAT’s how Black Friday is done, lol! But hey, if shopping is your thing, get it girl.

  • Emily Vanderhoof

    I mostly shop in stores but I’m see the growing temptation to shop online! I really don’t like going out in the cold and dealing with the crowds. However on-line shopping requires planning ahead. I’m not always on top of that one!

    • I love Black Friday. And I always will. I love the craziness of it haha

  • I like to do both when I shop. For the holidays I really do try to avoid shopping in store because I hate crowds. I feel the older I have gotten the more I like to shop online. Though it is harder to do that when it comes to clothes. If I’m shopping for clothes, I tend to shop at the store.

    • Same here, Mistle! I get nervous buying clothes online because I don’t know how they fit.

  • I LOVE online shopping. Mainly because I love receiving things in the mail. Plus I can usually find what I want so much faster than if I try to go into the store to locate it. AND to make it even better, I can shop in my pjs! haha

  • I do a bit of both. I love online shopping because of the credit card points and ease of having everything delivered right to my door, but Black Friday is a huge tradition for us in-store!

    • I think Black Friday is so much fun, but online shopping is so convenient!

  • Great post! I do mostly in store, a little on line, very little. I will never give up the experience of touching the things hands on before I buy them. I find with online purchases…a lot of time I end up having to return them , more so than at the store. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for reading! I’m like you; shopping is all about the experience!

  • I’m a mixture of both, just like a lot of commenters have said. I agree with you on the fun being ruined when places open on Thanksgiving! Especially the wonderful world of Target :( We never really woke up early and did all that but it’s a bummer that so many places are open on Thanksgiving. I’ll boycott Thanksgiving shopping with you! 😉

    • Yay! I’m glad someone will!! I know…tsk tsk Target :(

  • I end up doing a bit of both, but as more time goes on I definitely do prefer online if they waive things like shipping and returns. It’s just easier. The one thing I try to still buy more of in store is clothes cause I can get more of a feel for it.

    • It’s so much easier to just get things sent to your door!!

  • I got back and forth, there is something about going holiday shopping in the store but then there is something about getting a package in the mail!

    • Completely agree! It’s so fun to get mail but I LOVE that Christmas experience!

  • I prefer in-store shopping! I like to get an idea on the internet of what I might be buying, but I often need to see it in person to make sure!

    • I think it depends on what it is. If it’s jeans or tops, in -store all the way.

  • Sarah Koves

    Thanks for using my quote. This is such a great topic. I appreciate you sharing this because sometimes I feel bad that I just shop at home online.

    • Of course! Nothing to be ashamed about…it’s how our society is now!

  • This is such a good article for the holiday season, Chelsea. I do love in store shopping when it’s not crazy-busy because like many of the interviewees state, the experience of shopping is just fun!

    • Right! Especially when there is Christmas music playing :)

  • For me, it depends what I’m shopping for! I love shopping for clothes in the store and being able to try things on, check them out in the mirror. But some things are just so much easier online!

    • I know. I could NEVER buy jeans online. That’s for sure.

  • I’m a big online shopper. Its just so easy and I never enjoyed the store crowds. I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday because I like to spend that time with my family.

    • Good for you! I think it’s just ridiculous that they are opening stores on Thanksgiving now.

  • I love shopping online! I tend to go to a shop for clothes – to check that they fit – but I do most of my other shopping online. It’s so easy to do at any time of the day, and I don’t have to get out of my pjs!

    • I get nervous if I shop online for clothes!

  • Thanks for sharing my quote, Chels! I did order some stuff online today, but I also went to the store and picked something up because I didn’t want to wait for it to come, haha! It just depends on my mood!

    • No problem! I agree…it depends on my mood as well!

  • Thanks for sharing my link! I love me some online shopping, but I see how you made good points to pros and cons for each

    • Of course! I love ANY kind of shopping. hehe

  • I have started shopping online a lot recently to get commissions. I look forward to buying online.

  • Rose Mont

    I will most likely do a majority of shopping o line this year. Usually I look but still shop on the stores. I have gotten better acquainted with stores, deals, codes online and if shipping is free it’s a bonus! Now an online personal shopper would be great. This is what I want and if course pay th least amount.

    • Wouldn’t that be amazing!

  • I’ve become more and more of an online shopper because of a lot of the reasons you mentioned – namely, not having to leave my house, haha. I also feel like I can browse SO much faster online and find exactly what I’m looking for!

    • It’s so much more convenient when you don’t have to leave your home!

  • I love shopping online and will probably stick to just doing Cyber Monday this year.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • I’ve actually never done Cyber Monday!

  • I have such mixed feelings! In store is great because you can try things on when shopping for clothes, but online has such great deals!

    • When I clothes shop I usually do it in-store :)

  • Growing up as such a mall rat you would think I’d have more of an affinity for in store shoppig now, but no way! I would MUCH rather have a stress free shopping experience from the comfort of my home. Amazon Prime’s free shipping makes it even better!

    • It’s all about convenience!

  • I always go in with the intention of shopping online, but for some reason or another I always leave it too late and have to go to the shops! Not that I mind – sometimes you come across things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen if you were simply clicking and buying!

    • I totally agree. There are lots of hidden treasures in the stores!

  • Greta Hollar

    This will be my first year not black Friday shopping! I have all of my gifts and am excited to just spend time with family and not be out with crowds. Amazon is my best friend!

    • Good for you, Greta! That must be such a relief!!

  • I love shopping online for everything but clothes! Amazon is the best and you generally can’t beat those prices anyways. Great post!

    • Amazon is awesome. I really need to utilize it more!

  • Yoora

    Research online but buy in store! But the online coupons… are irresistible!

  • It really depends on what items I am purchasing. Like Bath & Body Works had an awesome sale on lotions last week for one day. I normally would go to the store to find scents, but since it was one day I could only order online. I love ordering online for short-time deals and rare free shipping.

    • I get ya. I think I need to be better at researching. I’m more of an impulse buyer!

  • To be honest, it depends…When I have a specific need for an item I’ll tend to go to a shop, whereas my online window shopping (which has been known to cause major wallet damage) i tend to get carried away with “want” items vs “need”. I do love the convenience of online shopping. I should point out that I worked retail for 4 years in high school and university so I have certain expectations about shopping in general. But I do love getting packages in the mail + doing unboxing videos/posts on my blog and youtube channel aha

    • Packages are so fun! I just got one today and it made my whole day! But I agree, online shopping can be tricky! I’m much more tempted to spend more money!

  • I totally understand the dilemma. For me though it really depends on what it is I need. If it’s something that needs to fit someone, I won’t buy it online because I really need to see it in person to judge that, but if it’s something simple that isn’t easily changeable than I’ll buy it online. I actually dislike going on a hunt to find what I’m looking for and would much rather do it from my sofa in my pjs with a glass (or 5) of wine!

    • LOL!!! I totally know what you mean. Random…but did you know Target just implemented a store in Chicago where you can shop and drink wine? lol

  • Brooke @

    Coming from a retail backround I find myself torn on this all the time. I do like the live experience of the stores and interacting with people. Then there is the fact that with two kids and a busy after school and weekend calendar, I find there’s not enough time to do it all. So i do about 50% of online and 50% at stores. I do love to spend a day lost in NYC and seeing all the holiday windows.


    • Oh my gosh I’m jealous you live in/near NYC so you have this opportunity!

  • I am definitely an online shopper. Crowds give me anxiety. The town we just moved to doesn’t have any malls within 45 minutes. I typically wait until a store is offering free shipping or the shipping is under $10. I’d rather pay $5 for shipping since it’ll still be cheaper than gas to drive 45 minutes lol

    • Right. The nearest store for me is 30 min. 45 min is definitely longer but I sort of know how you feel!

  • such an interesting blog post. I think online shopping is starting to grow on me. shopping overwhelms me, but on the other hand i like trying on things as well!

    • Agreed! I love trying on clothes personally :)