Shopping is the examining of goods or services from retailers with intent to purchase at that time. Shopping is the activity of selection and/or purchase. In some contexts it is considered a leisure activity as well as an economic one.

The shopper

To many, shopping is considered a recreational activity in which one visits a variety of stores in search of a suitable product to purchase. “Window shopping” is an activity that shoppers engage in by browsing shops with no intent to purchase, possibly just to pass the time between other activities, or to plan a later purchase.

To some, shopping is a task of inconvenience and vexation. Shoppers sometimes go though great lengths to wait in long lines to buy popular products as typically observed with early adopters shoppers and holiday shoppers.

More recently compulsive shopping has been recognised as an addiction. Also referred as shopping addiction, “shopaholism” or formally oniomania, these shoppers have an impulsive uncontrollable need to go shopping. The term “retail therapy” is used in a less serious context.

Shopping venues

Shopping hubs

A larger commercial zone can be found in many city downtowns or Arab city souks. Shopping hubs, or shopping centers, are collection of stores that is a grouping of several businesses. Typical examples include shopping malls, town squares, flea markets, and bazaars.


Shops are divided into multiple categories of stores which sell a selected set of goods or services. Usually they are tiered by target demographic based on the amount disposable income of the shopper. They can be tiered from cheap to pricey.

Some shops sell second-hand goods. Often the public can also sell goods to such shops. In other cases, especially in the case of a nonprofit shop, the public donates goods to the shop to be sold though thrift stores in the USA, charity shops in the UK. In give-away shops goods can be taken for free. In antique shops, the public can find goods that are older and harder to find. Sometimes people are broke and borrow money from a pawn shop using an item of value as collateral. College students are known to resell books back though college textbook bookstores. Old used items are often distributed though surplus stores.

Many shops are part of a shopping chain that carry the same trademark (company name) and logo using the same branding, same presentation, and sell the same products but in different locations. The shops may be owned by one company, or there may be a franchising company that has franchising agreements with the shop owners often found in relation to restaurant chains.

Various types of retail stores that specialise in the selling of goods related to a theme include bookstores, candy shops, liquor stores, gift shops, hardware stores, hobby stores, pet stores, pharmacys, sex shops, supermarkets.

Other stores such as big-box stores, hypermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, general stores, dollar stores sell a wider variety of products not horizontally related to each other.

Home shopping

With modern technology such as television and telephone and the Internet, users could be described as home shopping through online retail stores. Electronic commerce and business-to-consumer electronic commerce systems in combination of home mail delivery systems make this possible. Typically a consumer could make purchases though online shopping, shopping channels, mail order, etc. Sometimes peddlers and ice cream trucks pass though the neighborhoods offering services and goods. Also, neighborhood shopping takes place though various garage sales found in United States. Online shopping has completely redefined the way people make their buying decisions; they have access to a lot of information about a particular product which can be looked at and evaluated, at any given time. Online shopping allows the buyer to save the time which would have been spent traveling to the store or mall.

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