The very first online purchase was made exactly 20 years ago, an event which changed the face of retail as we know it. A Sting CD was the start of a billion-dollar business.
Brits lead the way
The very first online purchase originates from the United States and consisted of a 12.48 dollar purchase of a Sting CD. Research has shown that Brits buy the most online: last year, they spent 91 billion pounds online (115 billion euro).
Littlewood, the Shop Direct owner, believes that 95 % of the Brits has already bought something online, while 1 out of 4 does it at least once a week: "Online shopping in the UK was quite different to what it was 20 years ago. [...] Internet was very slow, little choice for customers, deliveries were very slow [...] and many sites back then were only there to support the offline experience", Garrent Jones (Shop Direct) said.
Experts believe that everything revolves around the customer today, instead of merely business. Online retailers have a lot more data to examine, helping them focus on what the customers really want. Nowadays, that appears to be mostly fashion, while books used to be the dominant branch in the first several years.
There has been another evolution these past years: laptops and desktop computers are still used most often to buy online, but Littlewood's research has shown that 1 out of 5 online customers uses a tablet, while 1 in 10 uses a smartphone.