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Graphic with the title 'THE EVOLUTION OF ECOMMERCE' with icons representing online shopping, sales, and communication.

The Evolution of Ecommerce

In 1995, Amazon sold their very first book. In 2015, Americans spent over $341 billion online. Over the course of 20 years, ecommerce evolved from a novel new concept into a major part of the world’s economy.

But how did that happen?

Bonus Content: Ecommerce Stats for 2024

That’s what we wanted to find out – and we did. In this infographic, we outline some of the most important milestones in the development of ecommerce as we know it today, as well as the current state of the industry and where we believe it’s headed: evolution-of-ecommerce

Major ecommerce milestones

1991 – The World Wide Web is created 1994 – Netscape launches Navigator, the first widely-used web browser, and Pizza Hut offers online ordering on their website 1995 –  eBay is founded & Amazon makes its first sale 1996 – Over 40 million people have Internet access, and online sales surpass $1 billion for the year 1998 – PayPal is founded, and changes the way people make payments online 2000 – Revenue from U.S. online shopping totals over $25 billion 2001 – 70% of Internet users make an online purchase during the holiday season 2003 – Apple launches iTunes, the first major digital music store 2005 – The term “Cyber Monday” is coined and becomes one of the biggest online shopping days of the year 2006 – Facebook begins selling advertisements 2008 – Online purchases are made on mobile phones for the first time 2012 – Online B2C sales surpass $1 trillion

The Growth of Ecommerce

Ecommerce Sales in the U.S.

Ecommerce sales have continued to grow steadily, with the total sales increasing 135% from 2009 to 2015. growth-of-ecommerce

The Growing Importance of Ecommerce

Ecommerce has not only grown in total revenue, but also continued to make up a larger share of the total retail sales made in the United States. importance-of-ecommerce

The Ecommerce Industry Today

There are now more than 800,000 stores online. 78% of US adults have made a purchase online, and 69% of adults with Internet access shop online at least once a month.

Online sales by Product Category

The most commonly purchased items online are electronics (22%) and clothing (17%).


Looking to the Future: Mobile Commerce & Personalization

Ecommerce is continuing to evolve, and two of the most important trends for online retailers today are mobile commerce and personalization. In 2015, 30% of ecommerce sales took place on a mobile device, and mobile commerce is expected to grow 2.58x faster than total ecommerce sales. 56% of consumers say they would be more included to use a retailer if it offered a personalized experience, and 74% of online shoppers get frustrated when websites show content that has nothing to do with their interests.

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The Internet in Real Time

Ever wonder how much is going on at once on the Internet? It can be tough to wrap your mind around it, but we’ve put together a nice visual that’ll help! The numbers show no sign of slowing down either.

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