From shopping for our basic needs, shopping for ocassions to shopping as a therapy, we have come a long way in shopping.
From my own experiences, I can observe the changes and relate how shopping has evolved in the last few decades. I can also imagine how far our style of shopping will reach in 2030.
There was a time when we shopped only for our basic necessities. For grocery we had the nearby “Shetty angadi” or kirana store(provision store), we would buy the veggies in the nearby open air market called Gandhi Bazaar or Malleswaram market, for dresses we had the garment store and emporias in majestic, commercial street or one of those bylanes of commercial street, For shoes we had the bata/ CSC /carona, furnitures were from the local carpenters, while electrical appliances came from shops like "White house" all mostly centred in the central business district called MG Road. This was the scenario till the 80's.
By 90's many departmental stores and supermarkets arrived on the scene and many shops opened up in our own area. Though MK Ahmed the famous supermarket chain store was right above my lane in Vijayanagar, we avoided going there since the goods were expensive. Many went to this shop only for gift articles or fancy utilities especially the imported ones since the shop owner shipped it from Gulf countries. Though i must mention here, we used to visit the Nilgiris supermarket, the first supermarket chain in India which opened at Brigade road whenever we travelled towards the cantonment side for their diary products, fresh veggies , lovely cakes and bakery products.
By 2k, Came the one stop shopping store called malls which encashed the booming economy of the IT and MNC class. Many vintage buildings were razed to make way for these malls by business houses. The MNC class with fatpay cheques made exclusive use of this shopping malls to shop, eat and celebrate. This became the new hangout for the general public. From buying for ocassions, people started buying/celebrating whenever there was clearance sales or discount sales. Shopping became a form of therapy to uplift the spirits of people during this decade in what came to be termed as ‘Retail therapy’.
Around 2010, came a new style of shopping, e-shopping where one can sit from the comforts of their bedroom or drawing room and by the click of a button buy a dress, grocery, shoe, jewelery or any such needs. We have various sites like ebay, Amazon, flipkart, farmtofridge, farmfresh which caters to needs of the customers. And with each festival or any ocassion, there are various discounts. I too have subscribed to this form of shopping in the past few months.Another advantage about such shopping sites is that you can buy global products manufactured in any part of the world to the native sweet of your home town just by click of a button from their respective sites.
Though as a customer, i feel satisfied only when i touch and feel the product. I have made this choice of shopping keeping in mind the amount of time i spend in the bumper to bumper traffic. Sometimes, when i go alone for shopping, i spend a considerable amount on commuting, So keeping in mind the overheads like commuting charges, time and traffic, i prefer shopping on these online sites, where i can choose from the varied products on display. Also, the seasonal discounts are an added attraction.
So with each decade i see a difference in the style of our shopping.
By 2030, I foresee a massive change in our shopping style. Though the technology progress has been slow in 80, 90,s the technology progress in the millennium is accelerating 1000 times greater than the last decade(2k). I am using the technological revisions of the new gadgets that are updated regularly as a reference. Machines might even surpass the human brain power and emotional intelligence and they might become successors to the human race just like Rajnikant’s 'Chitti' from the movie Robot.
Based on the above references, i can predict the technological advancements will be at a rapid rate in future and by 2030 we could perhaps have applications of many futuristic technology like nano technology, Artificial intelligence etc.Communication in technology and entertainment will be multisensory and telepathic. Humans will also have the ability to interface at a neural level with machines.Like some smart homes which has automatic sensors to switch off and on lights depending on the presence of humans. Shopping too will be in the same mode to an extent. Most utilities or every day needs will be automatically replenished as our smart home environment senses the needs.WE might buy food capsules which keep humans satiated, energised and help in growth.
Machines and humans may be connected by multi sensory bio-digital interface using nano technology, where humans will have neural connections between our senses and the the global networks. This way shops will be designed to sense our needs and replenish our utilities use telekinetics and telepathy. We might be mostly doing our utility shopping by neural networks.
Still for some traditionalists like me who want to touch and see the product before they buy, i hope in 2030,there will be a a few farms, factory outlets and exhibitions where consumers can buy products directly from the manufacturer to the consumer and like all things that come back in a cycle, i wish and hope by 2030 we revert to our style of shopping like that of the 80’s.