How Online Shopping Affects Small Businesses

Lacey Talaska, Reporter


Many stores in our town, Alpena Michigan,  have been closing. Some businesses are closing due to low customer attendance or bigger stores taking business away from smaller stores. One main thing that is  taking customers away from small businesses is online shopping. 


Studies have shown that more than 75 percent of customers shop online at least once a month.  Even though online shopping is convenient to many people, all of these online purchases are negatively impacting local economies. The biggest negative impact that online sales have on the economy is that they bring down the amount of sales tax the state and other local taxes that the towns collect. Not every online retailer charges the correct sales tax that would be charged if it were bought in a building store. Most small businesses will have higher taxes on their items compared to online businesses. 


When customers shop online instead of in stores to save money, they hold back the local company’s ability to grow. Holidays make it even harder for small businesses or building stores to compete with online shopping. In 2018, Christmas online sales were over 126 billion dollars in the United States. 


There are so many people who shop online nowadays that this gave the idea to small business owners to start their own websites. Two good factors for small businesses to start websites are that they can help them thrive and attract more customers, but it can be difficult for them too. If a small business already has prices higher than bigger stores, then usually taxes or shipping costs would be higher on their websites as well. Then, that makes customers want to shop on different websites. 


So, next time you want to go shopping for some new clothes or a pair of shoes, maybe first check out and see what your local small businesses have to offer. Help your community and economy thrive!