The Evolution of Ecommerce [10-50 Years] [Timeline]

The Evolution of Ecommerce [10-50 Years] [Timeline]

September 8, 2020 | by Christina Marfice

For as long as retail has existed, it’s been evolving to fit the needs of consumers.

From marketplaces in ancient Greek acropolis to the sprawling, modern shopping malls of today, consumers’ needs have always been what’s driven innovation in retail. And in no period of history is that more true than in the last generation.

In just the last 50 years, we’ve seen retail makes leaps and bounds into the digital age. Ecommerce was just a pipe dream a generation ago, and now it’s one of the most popular ways people shop. From its humble beginnings in the 1970s, to when people first began creating ecommerce websites in the 1990s, to its explosion of new technology and popularity in the 2010s, here’s how ecommerce has evolved over its lifespan to become the ubiquitous part of shopping it is today.

How Ecommerce Emerged for a Generation of Shoppers

Ecommerce was a possibility some innovative entrepreneurs were considering even before the internet existed. But how? Here’s how 50 years of technological advancement gave birth to the ecommerce industry we now know.

How Ecommerce Emerged for a Generation of Shoppers

That’s just the first 40 years of ecommerce’s existence. The last decade has seen levels of change and growth in the industry no one could have predicted.

Ecommerce Has Exploded in the Last 10 Years

As you can see, the evolution of ecommerce started slowly, with major developments every few years. As we entered the 2000s, major innovation to the industry came almost yearly.

Enter the 2010s.

In just the last decade, ecommerce has exploded in both growth and popularity. Even the biggest retailers can hardly keep up with how much the industry has evolved in each of the last 10 years. Let’s take a look

Ecommerce Has Exploded in the Last 10 Years

Which brings us to the present day, when ecommerce is still an absolutely thriving industry, appearing to have nothing but more growth ahead of it.

Ecommerce Today: A Trillion Dollar Industry

In 2020, global ecommerce sales are projected to top $4.13 trillion, an 18 percent increase from 2019. More than 2 billion people now regularly make ecommerce purchases worldwide, and mobile ecommerce has continued to grow — nearly 73 percent of ecommerce sales are expected to take place on mobile devices by 2021.

Globally, around one-third of people now make an online purchase at least once per week. China remains the top ecommerce market in the world, followed by the U.S., the U.K., and Japan.

What’s next for ecommerce? Based on the trends we’ve seen as ecommerce has grown, we can only expect more growth in the future. It’s clear that in the internet age, ecommerce is here to stay.

Be Ready for Whatever the Future of Retail Brings with PIM

The one thing we can predict with absolute certainty about the future of ecommerce is that retailers will need to stay agile, flexible, and open to change if they want to keep up with the industry — and their competition.

One of the best ways online sellers can future-proof their business is by investing in product information management (PIM) software, which will open up new omnichannel strategies, provide valuable business insights, and help them beat their competition to market and boost their bottom line, no matter what the future of ecommerce brings.

Ready to see how PIM can help your business transform to keep pace with the ever-shifting landscape of the ecommerce industry? Download our free ebook today.

Transforming Ecommerce PIM Market and Beyond

Christina Marfice
Written by Christina Marfice

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