Model IELTS Writing Task 2: Do the advantages of online shopping outweigh the disadvantages?

Jan 30, 2023 | IELTS Test

This question combines technology and shopping. Many IELTS Task 2 questions now cover more than one topic making it even more important to ensure that your vocabulary covers multiple areas. 

This question asks you if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It would be possible to cover only one side of the argument – however, this would limit you to a maximum of Band 8.0 for Task Achievement. To keep the door open for a Band 9.0, you should consider both sides so that your arguments can be considered comprehensive. 

The essay is structured as follows…

Introduction: states that there are both advantages and disadvantages and indicates that the author feels both sides are well balanced

1st Body Paragraph: describes some of the advantages of online shopping

2nd Body Paragraph: goes into some of the disadvantages of online shopping

Conclusion: recaps the advantages and disadvantages – siding marginally with the advantages


IELTS Practice Question

image of femal online shopper ordering more items from her laptop


You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Online shopping has increased significantly over the last decade.

Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Mock IELTS Writing Task 2 Answer

The rapid shift towards online shopping habits is considered by many to be a good thing. But while some individuals may prefer to make purchases on their computer or phone rather than in person, there are some substantial downsides to consider too. 

The most obvious benefit of ordering online is the ability to do so from home – or, indeed, from anywhere in the world. This saves time and, potentially, costs of travelling to a physical store; those who live in rural areas may well be making a round trip of an hour or more simply to reach the nearest to them. A second benefit – perhaps of more significance – is the differentiation in price. Since goods purchased online are fulfilled from large, cost-efficient warehouses rather than in exclusive high-street retail locations, e-commerce merchants can often offer discounts that are not feasible for competitors operating physical stores. 

On the other hand, the immediate availability of goods purchased in a store may be more convenient than waiting several days for a home delivery. From a sustainability perspective, shopping in-store is also more environmentally friendly if the journey can be completed on foot or by public transport, since there is no longer a need for a delivery van to make the journey. A third disadvantage to online shopping is the potential for fraud; payment and delivery scams have become increasingly commonplace and even the most frequent online shoppers may not be able to identify a website or email which is not genuine. 

To conclude, shopping online can be both the cheapest and the quickest way to access essential goods – but those advantages can come at a cost. Environmental and sustainability considerations, too, need to be taken into account. 


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