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18th birthday of online shopping

05 April 2012 - 09:05 by Graham Miller

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1994 was the year in which the first e-commerce transactions began to take place, which means that 2012 marks the 18th year in which safe shopping online has been available to consumers.

The origin of the first e-commerce sale is disputed, although many contend that it was carried out by Daniel Kohn, the man who helped to found NetMarket. Mr Kohn reportedly purchased a CD from his own site on August the 11th 1994, for a princely sum equivalent to around £7.85.

Others believe that rival service, The Internet Shopping Network, was actually about a month ahead of NetMarket, although there is no fixed way of verifying this according to Internet Retailing.

In the 18 years which have passed since the first e-commerce transactions, a lot has changed. Almost five trillion pounds are spent annually via safe shopping online, with the UK contributing more than its fair share to this figure, due to the popularity of web-based retail.

Internet Retailing is hosting an official ceremony to mark the 18th birthday of e-commerce this year on July 18th. Hundreds of industry insiders are expected to turn up for the event, which will be all about celebrating the successes of online shopping, as well as handing out six awards across various categories.

Internet Retailing spokesperson, Ian Jindal, said that the celebratory awards will hopefully become a permanent fixture in the e-commerce calendar, giving the industry its own equivalent of the Oscars.

Mr Jindal said that the event, held in London, will represent both the old guard of e-commerce with established companies being well represented, as well as the smaller firms which are just entering the market to offer their own innovative products and services. Internet Retailing hopes to confirm the guest list by the middle of next month.