Be Aware: Online Shopping and Global Poverty Reduction

Online shopping or E-commerce in America has been growing at an extremely fast rate. With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, more and more consumers are shopping online. Online shopping has many advantages over traditional approaches.

The first advantage is that consumers can easily access the virtual store from anywhere, at any time, through smart phone and tablet applications. Many companies are getting away from physical stores and moving into the virtual world. The internet has the ability to reach a wider range of customers and cut down on operating costs for companies.

The second advantage of online shopping is that consumers can easily compare pricing of the same product across different websites and different companies. Last but not least, E-commerce offers a more competitive pricing structure to satisfy the shoppers.

In 2012, E-commerce sales in the U.S reached almost $289 billion, a shocking number compared to $256 billion in 2011. This number is expected to grow to $361.9 billion by 2016. While one third of e-commerce sales come from travel and flight booking, the majority of purchases are from retail sales.

The leading categories in retail e-commerce are Electronic/Appliances (21.93%) and Apparel/Accessories (20.93%). With the holidays approaching, the e-commerce sector is performing better than ever.

Along with the growth of e-commerce, many internet retailing companies are contributing more towards the fight to end global poverty. One of these companies is Amazon has implemented a program to support the cause, contributing up to $40 for every $1000 spent toward global poverty reduction.

Check out the Borgen Project Amazon Link. At the same time, many other organizations like Tom’s Shoes, offer free products and services to people in poverty around the world.

According to the numbers, between $17 billion to $28 billion can be contributed annually to global poverty reduction just by shopping online alone. To put this into perspective, the USAID annual budget is only $33 billion, UNICEF’s budget is even lower at $11.7 billion, and the annual short fall to end world hunger is $30 billion.

U.S consumers alone can make up for more than UNICEF’s budget and almost enough to cover the short fall to end world hunger. Consumers should strive to increase their awareness of organizations offer contributions and get enrolled. It is easy, simple, and comes at almost no cost to the online shoppers.

Phong Pham

Sources: Borgen Project, Statista,