/ Money, Shopping

Do you shop online or local at Christmas?

Plastic figures with trolleys on keyboard

‘It’s just another manic Monday’ is today’s mantra for online retailers as they cash in on what’s expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. Are you joining the masses, or will you shun convention?

Ker-ching! There goes the virtual ring of another online sale. In fact, in the two minutes it’ll probably take you to get to the end of this Conversation, the UK will have racked up another 5,200 online transactions amounting to a rather impressive £368,000.

This is all according to Visa, making its predictions based on previous years’ spending habits. They also reckon that, as today is the Monday closest to December and to most people’s pay day, sales are going to soar. Ask Play.com, however and they’ll say next Monday is the day for mega sales.

Manic Monday, mega Monday, cyber Monday… online Christmas shopping has now got so big we can’t even decide on a name for it. But whatever the day and whatever the name, it’s big for a reason.

Online can be independent

Only a few years ago I would traipse around markets, department stores and local independents in a quest to find my nearest and dearest the most unique and thoughtful presents. Now that I’m a full-time working parent, shopping in actual shops is something of a luxury, so online shopping has become essential.

While the online giants like Play.com and Amazon regularly hit the headlines at this time of year, online shopping shouldn’t only line the pockets of the big players. I’ve stumbled across many small, independent online shops where I can still find unique gifts – and all in the comfort of my own home with a glass of wine at the ready.

The downside of shopping online

But for some, the online shopping experience isn’t quite this relaxing. We were recently contacted by an 81-year-old grandmother whose 10 grandchildren all send her links to things they’d like for Christmas.

‘We have found a splendid way of coping with presents via the internet, but it has one major snag and it is getting worse,’ she lamented. ‘Every tiny little clothes and accessories site makes me register before I can do anything. Over the years I have managed to register on all sorts of sites but, because I do not anticipate returning, have forgotten my password.’

I can see her point – with so many online security risks, it’s sensible to use different passwords, and annoying when you forget them. And I won’t be likely to return to many of my newfound sites until next Christmas, if at all. Can’t see that stopping me joining the manic, mega, cyber shopping rush though – how about you?


I personally prefer to go in store to shop – it creates more jobs and is a more sociable experience… But online shopping is cheaper so sometimes I just have to…

I’d love to support more shops – but I can’t. The supermarkets have driven them away. The only shops left tend to be food shops. I can’t buy the items I want anywhere else except on-line. I’m really not prepared to travel several miles to get them.