I was taking a drive today, and I was looking at a bunch of retail-type businesses that have closed down, or are just not getting any business. Now you will have some that will say it's all the fault of the economy, but I disagree on some of it. What's really the point of smaller businesses that don't offer anything special or different than any other?
Aside from the grocery store, and some items at a store like Target, I don't have a need to visit other retailers. Pretty much all computer or electronics related purchases are done online, where I can save usually a ton of money and tax-free as well. Most games I purchase are either digitally distributed or come in via the mail. This is not just me, just about everyone else I know have similar habits.
I just cannot find a good reason to visit a retailer, when I can get the same thing for usually 10-20% cheaper online, combine coupons or free shipping offers, and it's just about perfect. That's pretty hard to compete with.
But now we have another issue that could affect online shopping, and that is the introduction of wide-spread taxes currently being debated by the government. In past years this has always been defeated, but facing huge deficits and having people in charge that always want to tax, it's likely online taxes will become a reality. So would that drive more people back to retail? I don't think so, especially if online stores can keep prices in check.