The Era of Online Marketplaces: From E-Commerce to Betting Platforms
The way in which we spend our disposable income has changed enormously over the past couple of decades. We’ve seen a complete shift, away from the high street and towards online outlets. Let’s take a closer look at the extent to which that’s happened, and the areas it’s affected, from e-commerce to betting.
The Rise of Online Marketplaces
E-commerce has long since replaced traditional shopping for many people. It still continues to get even bigger, however, at a staggering rate. Between 2014 and 2021 alone – long after e-commerce had been established – it grew by a whopping 276.9%.
Of course, it’s not just traditional shopping for groceries or other goods which e-commerce has supplanted. It has also taken over in other areas too, including the likes of betting. The vast majority of modern punters choose to place their wagers using websites or apps, rather than going to a physical betting shop.
The Parallels Between Shopping and Betting
As noted, the ways in which we both shop and bet have shifted massively, from in-person to online. What are the actual reasons for this?
The most obvious is sheer convenience.
It’s vastly quicker and more straightforward to order a good or place a wager online, than trail out to a physical location to do so. In our on-demand age, this speed and ease can’t be overlooked.
Just as important, however, if not more so, is the enormous amount of choice we have.
Pop out to your high street, and you’re obviously limited to what happens to be there. Online, your choices are effectively endless. For shopping, that goes for the brands you can use, the goods you can buy, and so on. Amazon alone offers you a wide variety of ways in which to shop. For bookies, it affects the bookies you can use, the bets you can place, and more.
In conjunction with the last point, this increased level of competition has had plenty of positive effects for customers. In shopping, it has mainly meant lower prices than what you’d get at a brick-and-mortar store with higher overheads. In betting, it’s most obviously seen a rise in the quantity and quality of special offers, as the many bookies out there vie to attract new customers.
Is The High Street Dead?
The demise of the ‘high street’ – traditional shopping – has been talked about for many years now, ever since e-commerce took off. To an extent, it has clearly been exaggerated; so far, at least. Towns and cities aren’t ghost towns. Head out on a Saturday afternoon, and you’ll still find plenty of shoppers around.
That said, e-commerce has clearly had a massive effect on traditional shops. Most notably, it has made things much harder for independent and smaller businesses. Chain stores can afford to order in bulk, offer lower prices, and stay in business. Independent shops don’t have this luxury. Those which survive often do so by running a successful e-commerce operation, which props up the more costly, less lucrative physical store.
It’s a similar story for betting. The independent bookmaker has long since died off, due to stricter regulations and massively increased competition. Nowadays, only the very biggest traditional brands – like Ladbrokes, Betfred, Coral – maintain a presence on the British high street. Cast your eye down a list of online bookmakers, and almost all of them will run digital-only businesses.
In short, the high street isn’t dead yet, but it has changed. People who would once have shopped or bet there now overwhelmingly do so online. Businesspeople who would once have opened physical shops now turn to e-commerce instead. As to whether this is a shame, or a simple sign of technological progress, is of course a matter of opinion.