Why the internet has changed the way we consume

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021 - 06:57

When the internet first became popular around the turn of the new millennium, it was considered more of a curiosity than anything else. Sure, it could allow us to see and experience new things, but it did so slowly, and through a small and often disconnected set of social systems.

Today, much of our society is built around what the internet offers, and this isn't just the case for local groups of friends. Instead, the modern technological environment has driven us towards a more global form of consumerism. Through this gradual shift, we're a lot different than we used to be, and we thought we'd look at how.

Less Local Style

As many people will attest, style was once a very regional thing. Certain looks have always resonated more strongly in certain areas, often led by one or two highly visible trendsetters. However, outside of this small community, some highly valued styles from one place might be openly mocked in another. As we’ve grown more connected, these pockets of style still exist, but as part of a spectrum far greater than what has come before.

"Kylie Jenner" (CC BY 2.0) by JeepersMedia

Today, it’s common for the average person to be inspired by the style of people on the other side of the planet. Influenced by major names on platforms like Instagram, finding ideas to modify into your own style has never been easier. Going a step further, the increased connectivity as afforded by more international purchasing systems has made following through with new ideas similarly simple.

Choice and Freedom

Ordering specific goods from different countries, or even different cities, was previously a frustrating experience. Long phone calls, longer postal correspondence, and unreliable stock updates were common issues here, often leaving some of our most important decisions as wasted effort. With major national and international sales systems now standard, what we often used to ignore out of annoyance has now become the de facto method of buying for many.

Though food can often be left out of this equation due to difficulties with health and spoilage, practically any other good can now easily be bought online, and with far greater selection. A UK snus shop can be found here to illustrate this concept in action. With far wider choice than what’s available in local stores, and at better prices, these online shops have a lot to offer that more traditional stores do not. With bonuses for buying in bulk, fast shipping, and no extra checkout fees, businesses like this have played a huge part in reshaping how we consume.

"amazon" (CC BY 2.0) by stockcatalog

With our constant push toward better connectivity and a more communicative world, it’s only natural that recently established patterns will continue to grow. With this growth, a fundamental restructuring of how we consume is bound to continue, both in terms of what we want and how we receive what we want. Though this does complicate how the economics of local stores could perform, the overall effect for consumers is undoubtedly a positive one.

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