The world of ecommerce has changed so much over the years. The internet evolved rapidly, with dial-up connections giving way to broadband, which gave way to Wi-Fi hotspots that could be accessed anywhere at any time.
As our means of connecting to the world around us have grown more sophisticated, so too has the online shopping experience for consumers.
When we first started developing ecommerce websites, it was in platforms like osCommerce and CubeCart back in the early 2000s.
Those platforms have since lost favor, leading toward immense popularity of BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce.
Major Ecommerce Milestones
Here are some noteworthy milestones for the ecommerce industry over the years.
1991 – The World Wide Web was made by Tim Berners-Lee.
1994 – Netscape develops the first widely-used web browser, known as Navigator
1995 – eBay and Amazon enter the online marketplace
1996 – Over 40 million people around the world have Internet access.
1998 – PayPal is launched, allowing for safe and secure transactions through the Internet
2000 – The United States’ online shopping industry generates more than $25 billion in revenue
2001 – During the Christmas holiday season, 70% of Internet users make an online purchase
2003 – iTunes is the first major digital music store, which Apple releases
2005 – The term “Cyber Monday” is widely used, becoming one of the year’s major online buying days.
2006 – Facebook is now in the business of selling advertising
2008 – For the first time, mobile phone purchases are being made
2012 – B2C sales on the internet have surpassed $1 trillion
2017 – Instagram allows shoppers to buy direct from posts
2018 – Mobile shopping counts for over 50% of all ecommerce purchases
2019 – Online shopping sales is more than sales in physical stores for the first time ever (one week in February)
As you can see, the Internet has come a long way over the years. Ecommerce is constantly evolving!
The Growth of Ecommerce
Ecommerce shopping has experienced significant growth over the years.
The popularity of ecommerce has been driven by a number of factors, including the increasing availability of the internet, the convenience of online shopping, and the improved access to quality mobile devices.
As more and more people turn to the internet for their regular shopping, it is likely the growth of ecommerce will continue in the coming decades.
Ecommerce Sales in the U.S.A.
Here are some interesting facts about ecommerce sales in the United States.
- In 2021, ecommerce sales in the United States totaled $959.5 billion, approximately 18.3% year-over-year increase.
- The ecommerce market in the United States is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2023, approximately 20% of all retail sales.
- The most popular product categories for ecommerce in the United States are clothing and accessories, followed by electronics and computer hardware, then health and personal care products.
- Most ecommerce sales in the United States are made on desktop devices, but mobile sales are growing rapidly.
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The Growing Importance of Ecommerce
At this point, there really isn’t any turning back from ecommerce. It is part of the culture of almost every society these days. Here are some of the ways it has impacted people:
- Access to goods and services: Ecommerce allows people to access a greater variety of goods and services, most of which aren’t available to them locally. This can be particularly beneficial to people in rural or remote areas.
- Economic opportunity: Ecommerce can create job opportunities for individuals and businesses by providing a platform for them to sell their products and services to a global market.
- Convenience: Ecommerce makes it easier for people to shop for the goods and services they need, saving time and effort in comparison to driving to different stores to find available inventory.
- Employment: Ecommerce can create employment opportunities in a variety of business sectors, including online retail, logistics, and customer service.
- Environmental benefits: Ecommerce can potentially reduce the environmental impact of traditional retail by reducing the need for transportation and physical storefronts. As ecommerce giants like Amazon get better at eco-friendly business practices, the carbon footprint of the shipping becomes better as well!
Online Sales by Product Category
It can be interesting to look at ecommerce sales by industry, especially if you are looking at developing a new ecommerce website.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the most popular product categories for ecommerce are clothing & accessories, electronics & computer hardware, and health & personal care products.
Other industries that see significant ecommerce sales include home and garden, beauty & personal care, and food & beverage.
Here are a few interesting statistics about ecommerce sales in the top industries:
- In 2020, the clothing & accessories industry saw the highest level of ecommerce sales, totaling almost 20% of all ecommerce sales.
- The electronics & computer hardware industry was the second-highest, totaling almost 15% of all ecommerce sales.
- The home & garden industry industry was the third-highest, totaling almost 8% of all ecommerce sales.
- The beauty & personal care industry was the fourth-highest, totaling almost 7% of all ecommerce sales.
- The food & beverage industry (including groceries) was the fifth-highest, totaling almost 5% of all ecommerce sales.
Online Sales by Age Group
Another interesting look at ecommerce sales is when you view age group statistics.
Here are a few surprising stats about online sales by age group, within the United States:
- The 25-34 year old age group is the highest, with 20.2% of ecommerce sales.
- The 35-44 year old age group is 17.2% of ecommerce sales.
- The 45-54 year old age group is 15.5% of ecommerce sales.
- The 55-64 year old age group is 14.6% of ecommerce sales.
- The 65+ year old age group is 14.4% of ecommerce sales.
- The 18-24 year old age group accounts for the lowest level (of adults) of ecommerce sales, at 13%.
What Does the Future Hold for Ecommerce?
The future of ecommerce is positive, with steady growth expected in the coming years.
Here are a few leading trends that are shaping the future of ecommerce:
- Mobile commerce: The use of mobile devices for ecommerce is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, eventually taking over desktop as the leading device type. This will likely be aided by new technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, to enhance our mobile shopping experience. Check out our blog article on the best mobile layout examples!
- Social media commerce: Social media platforms are increasingly being used as a platform for ecommerce, with more and more businesses listing and selling their products directly on social media.
- Personalized recommendations: The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to personalize the shopping experience is expected to increase in the coming years. This may involve the use of personalized product recommendations, customized marketing campaigns, and product pairings based on other purchasers.
- Subscription services: The use of subscription-based models in ecommerce is expected to grow, as well. This may involve the use of monthly subscription boxes or recurring delivery of products. Check out our blog article on the best subscription website examples!
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