E-commerce celebrates 20th birthday | RetailDetail

E-commerce celebrates 20th birthday

E-commerce celebrates 20th birthday

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.

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German Otto Group continues to soar


German online company Otto Group saw its turnover grow 10.9 % to 7.76 billion euro in the past fiscal year. The former mail order company will continue to invest in start-ups and technology.

Decent profit increase for JD.com


Chinese online retailer JD.com has grown strongly in 2017: turnover grew nearly 50 % and it was profitable again. The company also expects to exceed a 30 % growth pace in 2018’s first quarter.

Rakuten ditches Priceminister brand


Rakuten has decided to get rid of its French brand Priceminister and absorb it into Rakuten, similar to what it did tot British Play.com.

Takeaway.com acquires Eastern European competitors


Fast food supplier Takeaway.com acquired its Bulgarian competitor BGmenu and its Romanian competitor Oliviera in yet another step towards its goal of being the European market leader.

Colruyt joins PostNL's grocery service


The mailman will deliver groceries every two weeks from now on: PostNL will collaborate with new grocery service Stockon in the Netherlands. A remarkable fact is that its private label brands are Boni, which is Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt’s private label.

Strong growth for Chinese e-commerce once again


There was another strong increase in the Chinese online market last year: compared to 2016, it achieved an astonishing 32 % growth. In that regard, China is performing exceptionally online.

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