Years ago when I was learning SEO - I read all the books trying my best to improve my e-commerce website ranking. We'll.....I wasted many hours and created enormous stress for myself.
I will admit when you're frustrated and thirsty for solutions - You will listen to anyone that claim to know the answer to all your troubles. Unfortunately you will find NO Shortage of people claiming to be the expert - come buy my product or e-book.
Low quality backlinks hurt the goal to get better rankings. Most low quality backlinks have some automation or no human approval process. You are better off not adding any backlinks.
I am a proud parent of three wonderful young people and from that experience I understand some things you must learn on your own. I still believe you are wasting your time - I just accept you need to learn the hard way.
Conclusion: Find quality links and don't worry about how many backlinks your competitors have. It's a mistake to add a large amount of low quality backlinks.
I wish you the best!