While talking about the history of e-commerce, I bet that you’ve heard of the sale of Amazon’s very first book in 1995, which is often cited as the beginning of online shopping. However, e-commerce has much humbler and older beginnings and has come a long way since then.
As displayed in the following timeline infographic, we're going to take a brief look at the history of e-commerce and go through a few predictions about what’s in store for the future.
The predictions are sourced from eMarketer and are projected for retail e-commerce sales worldwide in 2024 (more on this later).
Although the roots of e-commerce were planted decades ago, it’s more than likely that if you ask anyone if they were buying their shoulder-padded power-suits or ingredients for a shrimp cocktail online back in then, they would say no way.
Since then the e-commerce industry has been rapidly evolving it would probably be quite difficult to find someone who has never purchased anything online. The reason behind this shift is simple: whilst the first two decades of the timeline were about establishing e-commerce and its fundamental proponents, the last several years have been about improving usability and becoming omnipresent.
Four stages of e-commerce evolution since 2000
In the last two decades, e-commerce has focused on being more and more convenient, responding to changing consumer behaviors and expectations. We have moved from using one stationary computer per household (if we were lucky), to having palm-sized versions in our pockets. The digital transformation has taken us from having a basic user interface on a black and green screen to interactive e-tailers offering services like a real-life sales clerk.
With that in mind, a more recent timeline of trends is exhibited below: From 2000 onwards, the e-commerce evolution has been more related to improving and refining the experience for both customers and vendors.
If you want to hear more about these milestones, check out the inspiring talk given by Clerk’s founder and CEO, Hans-Kristian Bjerregaard. In this video, Han-Kristian provides you with a detailed tour through these different stages and what they have meant to the development of e-commerce.
The current state and future of the global e-commerce industry
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the e-commerce industry has been undergoing tremendous changes. The Economist recently released a video report called "The future of shopping: what's in store?" in March, shedding light on the ongoing shifts and future trends of retail during and after the global pandemic.
2020 drove a dramatically high number of shoppers online, and consequently, global e-commerce sales skyrocketed worldwide.
As the following chart from Statista presents, the retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 4.28 trillion US dollars in 2020. The e-retail revenues are projected to reach 4.89 trillion US dollars in 2021 and continue to grow to 6.388 trillion US dollars in 2024!
Needless to say, the global e-commerce industry is about to take off, and are you ready for this?
While we may not have a crystal ball to see exactly what the future holds, we can look back and know that tremendous change has already happened in a short time. Whatever the future holds, it is vital to remain relevant and innovative. In 2012, the head of the French Data Network commented on Minitel stating, "Minitel innovated from 1978 to 1982, and then it stopped." This mistake led to its demise in an ever-changing landscape of consumer behavior, and it is a lesson we should all learn from.
Being the #1 rated e-commerce personalization platform, Clerk.io can help integrate the most advanced e-commerce technologies into your webshop. Get started by booking a time with one of our specialists today: