There has been a lot of talk lately about tough times in retail, and the amount of empty or closing-down stores in once thriving shopping districts are a case in point.
As more shoppers switch to online, the person-to-person transaction has diminished, and fulfilling your needs and desires is a simple click or two away.
The convenience of having new shoes, a can of hairspray and a book delivered to your door is all well and good, but the experience does lack the luxury feeling that a beautiful store or an expert salesperson can deliver.
Is the sheer volume of online options actually ruining the fun of shopping?
I bought a leather diary online and the experience was more tedious than it was luxurious, so many colours, so many variations of leather, fonts, monogramming, paper choice. It felt like I was trying to pass a test and made me question whether I actually needed a diary at all.
There is so much choice online it has become overwhelming. I hopped on a fashion website to see what was being offered in the now ubiquitous Black Friday sale and there were 830 day dresses alone, 829 of them ugly.
The mere idea of scrolling through all of them was exhausting. I had instant product fatigue. The same feeling I had when Sirena moved on from having just the one, very excellent product to introducing what seemed like 51 new varieties of tuna, all of them horrible. Please, just do one really, really nice one!
Shopping is so much easier when someone has carefully edited something for you, not smothered you with alternatives.
I think the way a lot of millennials look at life, and their approach to shopping is very refreshing. They appear to value experiences more than stuff – they’ll spend money on good coffee, and artisanal craft beer, and yes, avocado smash, but they think diamonds are a con.
They don’t feel the need to spend money on a luxury car, there is Uber. They care about sustainable fashion and the treatment of the workers who make their clothes. And they travel the world, frequently.
It is liberating to want less. It’s a philosophy I am also now seeing in my age group – so many of my female friends are cleaning out their closets and cupboards, and selling or donating their clothes/mistakes.
Having fewer things makes life a lot easier – you know that everything you reach for is there for a reason, because it is either necessary or because you love it.
There is a saying that we spend the first half of our life acquiring possessions and the second half shedding them, but the new generation seem to be changing things.
Perhaps it’s because they are living at home with their parent(s) longer that they can afford to spend money on $15 chia seed smoothies. But in my opinion, having your children with you for a few extra years is priceless.