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The Washington Post reports that a team of Stanford University economists “compared online transactions with their bricks-and-mortar equivalents and found the typical household gained about $1,150 in terms of convenience and expanded choice by shopping online in 2017, when the Internet accounted for about 8 percent of all consumer spending.”

However, the story notes, “The rise of online shopping has also exacerbated income inequality, the researchers found. Higher-income households enjoy about three times the gains of lower-income ones, relative to their spending. Households with annual incomes above $50,000 do about 9.7 percent of their spending online. For lower-income households, the figure is around 3.4 percent.”

Another conclusion from the study:

“When the company offers online and offline options and the bricks-and-mortar option is a mile away, a customer will choose online about 12 percent of the time. When it’s 50 miles away? The customer will take the online option more than half of the time.

“Yet, contrary to expectations, Americans in remote locations did not rely more on online shopping. Instead, the researchers found people in more densely populated areas were more likely to do their shopping online, though that may also be tied to education levels and access to Internet connections and banking services.”
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